Friday, July 28, 2006


So it's naptime at our house, and I'm watching Bringing Home Baby and all the other crap that TLC shows in the afternoons. I usually keep it on in the background, etc.

Anyway, this mom has just brought her newborn* home from the hospital, and the baby was having a hard time latching on. This mom seemed like breastfeeding was something she really wanted to do, and there were no bottles around, etc. So when the baby was fussy and not eating well, she called the lactation consultant. And in my head, I'm thinking, "Good for you! Way to seek help and not just quit! Yay!" So this poor sleep-deprived new mom calls the lactation consultant, and they're showing the conversation on TV. She says, you know, the baby isn't latching well, not really sucking, etc., hasn't pooped since yesterday, what should I do?

The lactation consultant told her that she should give the baby a bottle of formula. Which she did.

Um, way to undermine a woman who was trying to do what was best for her baby in favor of taking the easy way out. What is up with that?

I was pissed on her behalf. I mean, the Bear was formula fed after three months, and she is obviously a genius, so I'm not opposed to bottles as such. But if someone really *wants* to breastfeed, and the person whose job it is to make that easier doesn't even attempt to help? That's awful.

*Who, incidentally, has the same name as Mouse! What is up with people stealing my babynames? Stop it! Right now!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rockabye, baby, just go to sleep...

So, the Bear has started doing this great new thing wherein she will wake up at night to go "pee-pee in the potty," which I am all about, since she has had three mornings of dry diapers now, but when she wakes up, she decides to stay awake. For hours. And hours. Now she's decided that she doesn't want to go to bed. At all. Ever. And I am horrible for making her go. She's really starting to get a little manipulative about it - drinks, trips to the potty, stories, claims of nightmares... Witness tonight:

Bear is sleepy. Oh, so sleepy. Wants to get in the bathtub at 7:00.

I make her stay up a little later, because I know it's not her falling-asleep-time yet.

She whines. And gripes. And cries. And makes herself generally unpleasant until 7:30, when I finally agree to put them in the bathtub.

Bath, jammies, story, into the bed. All at her request. We kiss goodnight. I head downstairs. It is 8:15.

8:16 - ::sound of feet padding down the hallway:: ::floor creaking:: I sense the Bear hovering at the top of the stairs. She creeps down. Has to pee. Fine. We pee. Back to bed. "Now I'm wakey! I don't wanna take a nap!"

I am very kind, understanding, gentle, and loving. The sun has gone to bed and so must you, etc. We'll eat the bread we baked tonight for breakfast tomorrow, etc. Tuck her back in and leave. I head back downstairs.

Scarcely have I sat upon the couch before I hear

::sound of feet padding down the hallway:: ::floor creaking::

I wait to see if she will say anything. She doesn't move. She can't see me. "Go back to your bed, Bear."

Oh, the calamity. The wailing, the tears. "I had a bad dream, Mama." Yeah, right. You didn't even lay down, and you haven't been to sleep yet. You can't have had a bad dream.

But I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I kiss. I cuddle. I give endless reminders of how Mom will never let anything happen to her girls, always very safe at home, blah blah blah. Wipe nose. Wipe eyes. Wipe mouth. Suggest bed? "I have to poop now." Fine. We go to the bathroom. No poop - but she's willing to sit on the pot and talk my ear off for ten minutes.

Back to bed. Much protesting and crying to be had. This time, I tell her that if she needs to go to the bathroom, she can call out to me, but she needs. to. stay. in. bed. Get in bed, stay in bed. No wanderings. She cries.

Mouse is up.

Feed Mouse, burp Mouse, put her back down. Remind the Bear to Stay In The Bed And Sleep Already. I head back downstairs.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Three times. Each time I get a little less patient, a little more irritated. It is now 10:30. We started this process at 7:30. I am displeased. Finally, I put them in their respective beds, pat each on the butt, and say, not the least bit nicely, "Just go to sleep already! Don't get up again!"

And it worked. So, to recap: falling for the ploys=no sleep. Firm & slightly grumpy=sleeping babies. Whatever it takes, I suppose.

I am so fried. I know the Bear will be up at some ungodly hour of the night, and have to be taken into the guest bed to go back to sleep with one of us. Ugh. I am so Not It tonight. I need a vacation from my summer vacation.

In other random news, we are leaving to visit family for a week. Most of them have never met either of the girls, some of them I haven't even seen since my wedding day. It will be nice to see everyone, but 400+ miles in the car with my kids? Not so exciting to me. I just know Mouse will use that opportunity to cut a tooth. Speaking of which, she has the tiniest corner of a tooth poking out today. Poor kid - she looks miserable. My family will probably think she's HellBaby because of all the toothiness, when she's normally the most laid-back, sweetest kid ever. Oh, well. I know better, if nobody else does.

Also? I think Johnny Depp is the greatest. I saw him on Letterman and he's just... so... you know. Intriguing. I watched an episode of that actor show when he was a guest, and he is really very intelligent. And he was talking about watching his wife give birth to their daughter, and how much respect he had for her, and how much he loved her, and how amazing it was, blah blah blah, and you just know there's nothing sexier than a man who can not only watch but enjoy watching his wife give birth. Plus he looks hot in eyeliner.

I made bread tonight. It smells all nice and yeasty in my house. So yummy, and so easy - easier than wrangling both girls into carseats and hauling them to the store and back home again. And the Bear got to help, which she totally enjoys.

Two years ago tonight, I was in labor with the Bear. I was sick and scared and in pain and pretty much just freaked out. Had I known what a cool kid she would turn into, I probably would have been a lot less freaked (although I'm pretty damn sure it wouldn't have done a thing for the pain). She rocks.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A badly paragraphed post

I realized the other day that I haven't done much updating about the girls lately, what they're up to, etc. This is a week of birthdays around here - Mouse just hit five months and the Bear will be two. And so, I thought that this was prime time for reflection - more for myself than for The Internet, although I always read updates about other people's children with relish - I'm always secretly comparing them to my children, trying to see whether my kids are ahead of the curve, behind, average, or something entirely different. I know that comparing is Not Good, every child is different, blah blah blah, but I can't help it. I even compare my own kids, which I *totally* have to stop doing.* (You know you do it too. Stop looking so self-righteous.) Anyway, here's what the kids are up to these days.**

Mouse at five months:

She is turning into such a fun baby. Husband and the Bear can get her to laugh, although I can't. She is very generous with her smiles, though - strangers are always commenting on what a smiley baby she is.

She's right around 18 pounds - enormous! Much bigger than her sister was at that age. Still nursing exclusively, although I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do when I go back to work in a few weeks. I usually pump one bottle a day and give it to her just so she stays used to taking one - she wouldn't for so long, I don't want her to backslide. I can't decide whether to try to keep pumping (*not* easy in a school setting!) or to wean her onto formula. I'm just torn.

She rolls all over the place now - for a while it was mainly front to back, but now she's doing back to front, too. She scoots on her tummy to get to things, and she spins around on her back like the hands on a clock. It's funny to watch.

I'm trying to get her to sleep only in her crib now. For the last month she's been going to sleep in her crib at bedtime, then coming to our bed after her 3 or 4 am feeding and keeping me awake with kicks and flops. I hit a sleep-deprivation wall this weekend, so last night I forced myself to put her back in her bed after her 4 am feeding, and lo and behold, she slept soundly until 7:30, ate again, and went back to sleep again! Yay!

I think I feel the beginnings of a tooth - there's something rough on her gum. I expect it to break through in the next few days (probably while we're in the car for 7 hours to go visit great-grandmother). She's very happy (when she's not teething) and very laid-back. Definitely a low-maintenance girl. Sometimes I think she *knows* that she's a second child and can't afford to be as demanding because we just don't have the time. But that's probably just crazy talk.

She's finally over her many months of awful diaper rash, probably because she's gotten out of the habit of pooping ten times a day. I'm looking forward to starting her on some food in a month or so. I keep wanting to give her tastes of new things, and she is all about the food. She will pull your plate if she sits on your lap. She wants to try things so badly!

The Bear at Two:

Oh, my. Nobody knows how to push your buttons like your own children. Conversely, nobody can make you as completely happy. She is a pill at times, but at others she is the most joyful little girl in the world. She is still on the light side for her age, just barely 25 pounds at 2'9". Her hair is filling in, but pigtails are still a long way off, I think.

She has been talking for - well, it seems like forever now. She uses complete sentences, although her grammar is sometimes suspect. She has quite the vocabulary, too, for someone so young. She has this habit of repeating the exact same sentence over and over and over again until you just want to stuff a pickle in her mouth to shut her up. She lisps a bit, and sometimes it's tough to understand a word. If you guess wrong, she'll repeat herself, loudly, until you figure it out. She has a great sense of humor, and she makes jokes sometimes that crack me up.

She wants to be treated like a baby sometimes, which is the only sign of jealousy she has displayed since her sister arrived. I humor her when she asks, and we tease about it, because babies can't walk and talk and play like she does, silly girl.

She has nightmares sometimes, which are just heartbreaking to me. She gets all choked up and sniffles with these big gulping breaths. You never want your child to be scared, and when there's nothing you can do, it makes you feel so helpless. It helps that she can tell me what scared her, but she can't quite explain *why* yet, and that sucks.

She's doing great with potty training. She can stay in her big-girl underwear all day, and she will tell you nine times out of ten when she needs to use the potty. Sometimes if she gets caught up in playing, she forgets and has an accident. I try to remember to ask her if she hasn't been in a while, but sometimes I forget, too. She usually wakes up dry from her naps, unless they're longer than normal. We've had two or three short outings (less than an hour) and she's been able to stay dry for those, too. When we go out she wears the "plastic pants" to cover her underwear, and she asks to wear them at home, but I don't let her because she gets a little sweaty in them - ick. It was surprisingly easy to get her to do it - after a few false starts, she just got it one day. It's been pretty easy since, and she enjoys it, oddly enough. Very fascinating to her.

She loves to eat fruits, and some vegetables, anything with carbs, and now - peanut butter! I tried it on her for the first time a few weeks ago, and she loves it.

When we put her in her big-girl bed, she spent the first month calling to us when she wanted to get out. It was kind of nice. And then, one day, she realized she could Get Out When She Wanted To. And now, she does. After her naps, she tries to sneak down the stairs to surprise me. I usually sneak up to surprise her, and it's very funny and cute. We meet on the landing and hug. Not so funny in the middle of the night, though. She will occasionally wake up at some ungodly hour of the night and wander into my room. I found her standing by my side of the bed the other night at 3 am, just staring at me. It was kind of creepy, truth be told. She was all, "Hi! I'm wakey!" So not cool.

She's very wary of things and people at first, and it takes her some time to get comfortable in a new situation. She gets scared easily, and is shy around strangers. After about half an hour, though, she warms up and her true personality comes out - very outgoing and curious, although still cautious. Tonight she played on her own at the park, and I sat on the sidelines with Mouse. It was a big breakthrough for her. She had a great time once I convinced her it was supposed to be fun.***

She can count - to two. She knows other numbers after that, but to get her to put them in order, like for counting, is not really on her agenda. Likewise the alphabet. She likes the letters A, H, O, and C. Other letters are passe. All colors are pink. There are no other colors. I think she does this just to piss me off, because every now and then she slips and says "blue car" or "brown crayon" and I know she can tell the difference. Maybe just a weird toddler quirk.

They really are great kids - very loving, very sweet, very fun. I enjoy them, most of the time. I get frustrated and tired and cranky and impatient, but I wouldn't trade them for a ton of monkeys.****

*I don't do the "one is better, one is worse" type of comparison. It's more like "oh, crap, I can't remember what your sister was doing at this age, is this normal?"

**I went back and broke this into paragraphs (kinda) after I wrote it, and, wow, that didn't work out so well. Excuse the unreadability.

***Incidentally, the Bear has a fairly uncommon name. I wanted distinctive, classy, out-of-the-common-way names for my girls, so that they wouldn't be the 18th girl in class with the same exact name and have to use initials or other identifying features. I wanted her to be the only girl in class with her name (although I didn't go so far as the making it up, because I think that's crazy. If she wants to have a high-profile job some day, I don't want people making fun of her name.) But tonight? At the park? Guess who we met? Another Bear. Only four months older, which will put them in the same class in school, assuming we're still living here. Same. Damn. Name. I was a little miffed. Not like I have a monopoly on my children's names, but I like their uniqueness. Having that taken away a little was frustrating to me.

****Besides, what would I do with a ton of monkeys anyway?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Greatest. Game. Ever.

So, Bear and Mouse just invented the greatest game of all time. You know how babies do that super-annoying "I'm going to throw my toys on the ground every five seconds and make you pick them up" thing? ALL THE TIME? Well, guess who loves to run around picking things up?

Toddlers! Mouse throws her teething ring on the floor every two seconds, and Bear runs to pick it up and give it back to her. It's a win-win situation!*

*If by "win" you mean put something that's been here in your mouth. Which, I confess, I let Mouse do. Don't even start with me.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Tonight, as we were watching the news, the Bear pointed at the TV and said, "Fireworks, Mama! Fireworks on the TV!"

It was a report from Haifa. The fireworks were explosions.

How do you explain war to a two-year-old? Can you? Should you?

Monday, July 17, 2006

There but for the grace of God...

What an awful night. Cranky cranky girls, lots of crying, multiple attempts at bedtime, nightmares (birdies and choo-choo trains, this time), extra drinks, extra trips to the potty, extra stories, extra songs, extra snacks*, one killer headache, one case of mastitis (I think - ouch! is all I can say), and way too much time in the rocking chair. I am fried. Ugh. Those dishes are *so* not getting put away this evening.

Then I sat down to watch TV after I put Mouse to bed, and I tuned into this show, and I realized how easy I have it, by comparison, and how much worse it could be. Eight kids under the age of 5? Ugh.

Also, the mom, who had sextuplets, showed her belly to the camera. I thought that was really brave of her, and really cool. It must be something in the air - everybody's doing it. I'm pretty lucky, all things considered. I only have a few faded stretch marks around my belly button, and just a little more pooch than I used to have. Everything sags a bit, but the thing that kills me is the "mom butt." You know how so many moms have the flat looking butt? I looked in the mirror the other day, and my butt was definitely flatter than it used to be. I wonder what sort of exercise I could do to make my rear end rounder? I'm sure that just sitting on it all the time isn't really helping...

I got out my school work that I've been wanting to work on all summer and I finally got some work done. It's about time... I got about two good hours of work done during naptime. I felt so productive, for once. And then everything went to suck. Oh, well... tomorrow is another day. ::does best Scarlett O'Hara imitation, then goes to make dress from curtains::

*A high point: Bear claiming she was "all done" with her peanut butter toast, which I then threw in the trash. As soon as she was wiped clean, she asked for her toast again. I finally told her that if she wanted to eat the toast, she would have to fish it out of the trash to do so. Which she promptly did. And ate it. And I didn't even care.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ick. Just ick.

To you, O Internet, I bare my soul. And my carpets. Cleaning the house in preparation for Grandma's arrival (and thereby passing on my neuroses to the next generation - Mom must always think we live a perfect life, and must never see a dirty house), I give you - one week's worth of crap on my carpet.

I'm not a total slob, I promise. I am, however, both busy and lazy, and that's a pretty bad combination.

Feel free to go obsessively scrub your own floors now. I sure am.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


So, it seems as though we've had a few breakthoughs around here this week. Like the other night, when Mouse, after staying up until MIDNIGHT! slept until 6:30 the next morning. It totally rocked! Although, tonight she went down for a "nap" at 7:30 and is still. sleeping. I keep checking to make sure she's still breathing. Watch - now she'll wake up at midnight and want to play.

Also, the Bear turned a potty-training corner today. After her nap, I took off her diaper and let her run around nekkid. After a while, she said, "I have to pee in the potty now." So I took her and sat her on the potty, and lo! There was pee! All afternoon, we were on and off the pot, in and out of the bathroom. It was not the cleanest of days - she tried to poop on the potty but got up before she was done and left a trail of poop on the floor, and I caught her using one of her "special" wipes that she only gets to use when she goes on the potty to clean the floor. After she had spent twenty minutes wiping her butt with it. She's very big on doing it herself - the trick was that I switched from her little potty on the floor to a seat on the big potty with steps. She can get on and off by herself, and that's what hooked her. She is All About The Potty right now. Of the 73 times we sat on the potty between nap and bedtime (all of which were her idea, several of which were patent ploys to get another wipe), she peed at least 7 times and pooped once. All in the potty. I left her diaper off until bedtime and there was - get this - no pee on my floor. It was amazing to see her mind work. She could totally tell when her bladder was getting full, and she knew she should go to the potty to fix that. I think our next step might be some big-girl underwear. I don't think she'll be content to wear her diaper around the house after this, although she'll still need one when we go anywhere. We're not there yet, but we're getting there. I have hope.

Hmm... in other news, Stouffer's does not put enough sauce on their french bread pizzas, and Weight Watchers (maybe? red box) makes a much better marinara sauce than Healthy Choice. I'm noticing a sauce-related theme here. Hmmm. I am a picky sauce-eater, I suppose. I have been eating relatively healthily (with the exception of the frozen dinners, obviously) for over a week now, in a pathetic attempt to get rid of some of the excess poundage that I've been carrying since I had Mouse (ten extra pounds, if you *must* know) without having to truly diet or exercise. Lame, yes, but somehow that's about all I can manage right now. I'd like to exercise, but I just can't get out of the house without being made to feel somehow guilty about leaving the kids with Husband. He *says* it's ok, but his eyes and his body language tell a different story. So I don't go to work out on my own, and I really don't have the stroller or the sidewalks to take the girls with me. Our sidewalks are an insult to the good name of pavement, and our stroller is not really the walking/jogging type. It's better suited to a quick saunter more than anything else. Double strollers are so bulky! So, yeah, no exercise, and I don't want to really diet at the risk of cutting too many calories and compromising my milk supply. Eating "reasonably" is my sad effort to control the spread of my ass, a plan instituted when the doctor's scale revealed that I had actually *gained* a pound despite exclusively nursing a baby in the 100th percentile for weight and chasing a toddler all day. Really, I just don't want to stand up in front of a room full of teenagers next month and worry that they're whispering about my muffin top. I'd much rather have them complaining that I'm too strict. I'm very sensitive about my looks, I guess. While I'm definitely no Angelina Jolie, neither am I totally an Ugly Betty. We'll see how this goes. A haircut would go miles toward fixing what's wrong with me, also.

What a random collection of nonsense thoughts. I'm going to quit while I'm ahead.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Confessions of a frozen-entree connoisseur

Have I mentioned that Husband is back to working in the evenings? I find it ridiculous to cook dinner for myself and a toddler, and Husband patently refuses to eat leftovers, or any meals on a regular schedule, really. But biology dictates that we must eat something, and so it is that I have taken to eating frozen dinners.

Truth be told, most frozen dinners are pretty gross. Objectively, I can totally see that. But for some reason, I still enjoy eating them. It's like watching an accident - you don't want to do it, but you can't *not* do it, either. As an exercise in contemplation, I thought I'd write a little reflection on each night's dinner after I've eaten it. Maybe, on reflection, they won't seem so great after all...

So, tonight's dinner was four-cheese manicotti with a side of broccoli. Tiny manicotti - I thought I remembered they used to be bigger?! The four cheeses weren't a bad combo, but the marinara was more like tomato juice, thin and red and overly tomatoey. Somehow, I always manage to burn my tongue on the first bite, but by the time I get to the last bite, it's tepid at best. How does that happen? Still, I polished it off in record time, in between slicing pieces of cheese for the Bear. The broccoli that came on the side? I couldn't quite manage that. I love broccoli - the taste, the crunch, the color, the cancer-fighting properties, you name it. But there are a few things you need to know about broccoli, which apparently the good folk at Healthy Choice have forgotten: namely, you eat the crowns (you know, the tiny flowery bits on the top?), not the stalks (the tough, woody, stringy stems). Also, you only need to steam them for a little bit to get them to the right level of doneness. If you overcook them, they will turn gray and mushy and be totally disgusting. So, the tiny cup of "broccoli" was all stems and no florets at all, and by the time I had cooked the manicotti long enough to be done, the broccoli was overdone - blech. Even liberal seasoning was not enough to redeem *that* particular culinary misstep. All in all, it was par for the course.

On to other equally uninteresting things - I've been trying to figure out the Mouse's schedule. She's starting to put herself on one, and the Bear had a very strict schedule that she totally loved. She's still a creature of habit, although not so rigid as she was at 9 months or so. So, I figured that I might as well see if it would work for Mouse, too. I made a chart, divided up into half hours, and labeled each with what she was doing at the time - awake, asleep, eating. Then, I labeled her moods - happy, fussy, gassy, content, etc. Here's what we came up with for today:

midnight - 3:40 - sleeping
3:40 - 3:55 - feeding, sleepy
3:55 - 4:20 - sleepy but gassy, awake in crib but not fussing
4:20 - 5:00 - awake, drowsy but chatty
5:00-7:30 - sleeping restlessly
7:30-7:45 - feeding restlessly
7:45-9:30 - awake
9:30-9:45 - feeding, awake
9:45-11:00 - sleeping
11:00-11:20 - feeding, awake
11:20-12:30 - awake, getting fussy
12:30-2:00 - sleeping
2:00-2:15 - feeding, awake
2:15-3:45 - awake, content
3:45-4:00 - feeding, fussy
4:00-5:30 - sleeping
5:30-5:50 - feeding, drowsy
5:50-7:30 - awake, happy, fussy toward end
7:30-7:45 - feeding, sleepy
7:45-8:30 - sleeping
8:30-9:20 - awake, restless
9:20-9:30 - feeding, drowsy
9:30-10:30 - sleeping
10:30-present - awake but drowsy, content

So, what can we glean from this chart? Several things, I think:

a) I am anal.
b) Mouse naps a lot. Cat naps. Maybe she should be a Cat and not a Mouse?
c) She eats, also a lot. I'll probably feed her once more before she goes down for the night, bringing us to 11 feedings today. No wonder she weighed in at 17 pounds, 7 ounces at her 4 month checkup. Not a Cat or a Mouse but a Piglet, I think!
d) I am anal.
e) Is she sleeping too much? Not enough? I tried to add up the time, but got confused and quit.
f) I am bad at math.

Well, I think that's about enough crap from me - off to ponder the meanings of Mouse's sleep habits, and what I might want for dinner tomorrow night. Our options include macaroni and cheese, baked ziti, french bread pizza, and... oh, some other noodle/sauce variation, I think? What should I eat?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Preaching to the choir

So, we're all a little cranky in my house these days. Who knows why? The Bear is terrible-two-ing all over the place, what with all the "no" and the repeating of the same sentence over and over and over again until she gets what she wants, and the kind-of-sort-of potty training (five days in a row she has gone in the potty), and the nightmares! She has nightmares! About dogs! and birds! and flowers!

Mouse is teething, and not really happy unless she has a finger in her mouth to chew on, drool pooling on her chin. The teething gives her this really nasty liquid diarrhea (TMI, sorry) that goes *everywhere* and stains *everything*. I've taken to only dressing her in onesies that already have orange stains up the back, so as not to ruin even more clothes. So gross. Plus, now that we're putting her in her crib at night, she's waking every 2-3 hours, instead of once a night. I'm really hoping that evens out soon.

Husband is back to shift work, which means he leaves after lunch and gets home at midnight, effectively skipping dinnertime, bathtime, and bedtime, the three most difficult things to accomplish with two kids under two. Plus, we don't get to spend our evenings together after the kids go to bed like we would if he were home, so we get grouchy at each other.

And I am just plain tired. The cumulative effects of almost three years without a full night's sleep are starting to tell. I feel like a moron most of the time, I can't even think straight, I'm grouchy and short-tempered, I rarely get a shower, and... ugh. Every single morning when I wake up, the very first thing I think to myself is, "oh, shit. not again."

Pleasant, right?

At any rate, this morning we were all somehow sitting together relatively peacefully at church, and the text for the sermon was from Romans 5. In part, it says that suffering leads to endurance, that endurance in turn leads to character, that character leads to hope, and that hope will not disappoint us. It just struck me as being singularly appropriate for where I am in my life right now. I think that anyone out there who has two children under the age of two would characterize their lives as "suffering"!* And I thought to myself, I can just barely see the glimmering of endurance on the horizon. I'm not there yet, but I can see that we will get there eventually, and that I will be able to "endure" a lot more of the daily crap that goes on around here, and the guilt and stress that come from holding down a full-time job and being a full-time mom, too. Hopefully I will be able to endure it with a better attitude than I have had lately. It would be nice! And as for character - I'm going to have character out the wazoo (if I make it though this alive)!

It's just a little eerie (but kind of cool, too) when the text for the day seems to be picked out just for you. Perhaps its a message...

Also? Today, for the first time, I made it though an entire service without exposing my chest! Talk about your milestones...

*Sure, in comparison to real, actual suffering, this may seem like a cake walk. There are millions of people in the world who live in active suffering every day, and I'm not trying to trivialize their lives. But I think that the stress and depression that I'm going through right now, and their effects on my family, can accurately be described as suffering, too.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Righteous anger

Things that make me mad (in no particular order):

*people who don't know what they're talking about
*people who twist the facts to suit their own purposes
*people who are scared of other people just because they're "different"

That being said, did you know that there are bunches of wackos out there? People who distort facts to fit them into their skewed version of reality? People who flaunt their ignorance and intolerance in public? in front of people?

So, the NEA (National Education Association, for all you non-teachers), at their annual meeting, approved a resolution to the effect that race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion ''should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner.'' How very open minded and tolerant of them, to acknowledge the fact that different people lead different lives with different lifestyles. How munificent of them, to refrain from passing judgment on these people just for leading said different lifestyles.*

In what is surely a logical response to this resolution, the AFA (American Family Association) sent out a panicked mass email to, well, everyone they could think of, apparently. In this email, the AFA claims that the NEA is "endorsing" gay marriage.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a pretty big difference between *tolerating* something and *endorsing* it. For example: bratwurst. I will tolerate bratwurst if others around me are eating it. I don't particularly like it for myself, but I have no problem with you eating it. *You* can eat all the bratwurst you want. *I* will probably not partake, thanks. So, I tolerate the bratwurst. I do not deny you the pleasure of eating it. That would be silly and impractical. Neither, however, will I slather it with mustard and cram it in your face for you. That you have to do for yourself.

So, then, the AFA's claim that the NEA is "endorsing" gay marriage is a logical fallacy. Onward. They further twist the intent of the NEA's resolution by positing that the "new NEA proposal essentially says schools should support and actively promote homosexual marriage and other forms of marriage (two men and one woman, three women, two women and three men, etc.) in their local schools."

Actively promote? Actively promote homosexual marriage? And other types of marriage? To actively promote something in the school system, you need to provide information on it to the students. You need to instruct them to think a certain way about something. The AFA is trying to make us believe that gay marriage is going to be a part of the curriculum in public schools. Sure. Right after we teach them to read and do long division, we're going to marry them off. To partners of the same sex! *Heterosexual* marriage isn't even in the curriculum! Know why? Because marriage is a personal matter, one that is unique in every situation. You just can't get that in a textbook.

Again, the AFA is putting words into the NEA's mouth, twisting their intent to scare those who are afraid of The Gays.

According to them, this new resolution in favor of respecting the rights of all our citizens, not just the straight, WASPy ones, "means the NEA will promote homosexual marriage in every avenue they have available, including textbooks, to all children at all age levels and without the permission or knowledge of parents. Their plans will include every public school in America." Again with the promoting. That's just like endorsing, right? I just can't figure out what makes these people think that we are going to go out and buy textbooks exclusively promoting gay marriage. I can't even get enough money for textbooks in my subject area (which is non-matrimonial). How are we possibly going to revamp every textbook in every classroom in America so as to thoroughly indoctrinate our students on the benefits to be derived from gay marriage?** That's just ridiculous. And? By enrolling your child in a public school, you are giving that school permission to teach its curriculum to your child. Also? If you want knowledge of what your kid is learning in school, ask!


Here's my big problem - I think that marriage is a private matter, not something that should be decided by the government. If the authorities governing a particular religion want to forbid the right of gay marriage to their members, that's perfectly within their rights as a private organization. They can preach whatever they want to their members. If, for example, the Catholic Church wants to forbid their members to get abortions, more power to them. That's their right as a private institution. But for the state to deny a fundamental right to a percentage of their citizens on purely moral grounds? That can't, in good conscience, be done. Because we live in a country that claims to believe in the separation of the Church and the State. That means that the State cannot impose moral values on its citizens. And the only objections I've ever heard to gay marriage have been moral objections, based on traditional Judeo-Christian moral (religious) principles. Teaching moral (religious) values to the next generation is the job of the child's parents, not the schools. Who are we to say that everyone in America has to subscribe to traditional Judeo-Christian morals, when not everyone follows that belief system? There we go, cramming the bratwurst down people's throats, without even bothering to check if they like it first. If I wanted to live in a theocracy, I would move to Iran.

This is kind of disjointed, as most of my ranting tends to be, but my point is this - I don't think that the government should be allowed to dictate who can or can't get married. That's a matter for religious organizations to decide on an individual basis. Beyond that, I don't think that the government should legislate morals. I think that our schools should teach understanding and acceptance of others, regardless of the differences between us. If the parents want to teach a different school of thought (one that adheres to a specific religion's viewpoint, for example), then they should teach that to their own children in their own home. But I don't want the values of any one particular religion mandated in any school funded by *my* tax dollars or attended by my children. And I sure as hell wouldn't work for such a school. But that's just me.

On a related note - more wackos!

*No, these guys are not the wackos I was referring to.
**Which I'm assuming are the same as the benefits to be derived from heterosexual marriage - health insurance, joint decision-making power, and someone to put your cold feet on in the winter.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Home again, home again (jiggety-jig)

Okay, so my dad always used to say that when we pulled up in the driveway after a trip when I was a little girl. I thought it was funny.

So, we're back from vacation. The girls and I went to visit my parents, and Husband went to visit his. Everyone was pleased. He did not have to take care of the children, and I did not have to go to my in-laws' house, which is just massively inconvenient. Also? They positively slobber over the girls. Literally. Grown adults making drooling idiots of themselves over children. I mean, I love my kids, but I'm not really down with the baby talk and the spoiling and the, you know, constant worship. Anyway, it was a nice trip, complete with visits to the pool (and a newfound fear! of water! for the Bear) and to the zoo (boy, do we like animals. but not crowds! oh, no.) and concerts and fireworks. Quite satisfactory. And the best part? This year, I'm not pregnant!

Seems like everyone else in the world is vacationing, too. Happy wanderings!

Coming soon: word-twisting, soul-sucking theocrats and why they annoy me.