Sunday, April 27, 2008

How lucky for me!

Day two of my Husband’s sincere attempt at quitting smoking.

This would’ve normally been his week in the office (five hours south of home) but due to his MASSIVE head cold, EXTREME lightheadedness and confusion, and AGONIZINGLY SEVERE withdrawal symptoms, he’s decided to stay home this week and suffer right next to me.

I know, I know, tobacco addiction and withdrawal can be more powerful than that of heroin. Despite no longer being a smoker, I’ll always resist passing urges to light up and inhale. This isn’t easy for him and I’m so proud of him for trying again. And I’ll support him until he finally kicks it.

But Maine black bears are supposed to live outside, right?

That’s what I thought.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The moment the collective we begins

making progress with alternative fuels, and suddenly there’s a food shortage.

Every major media outlet is making a big stink about how you can’t walk out of Costco without four 20 lb bags of rice.

Where’s the American Federation of Rice when we need them?! Fat America is suddenly in danger of losing a little weight because of rice “shortage.”

The horror.

Dudes. There’s no food shortage.

You can’t possible believe that big global oil corporations have nothing to do with this. They pay Major News Networks and America’s two largest food retailers (Sam’s & Costco) and then the Major News Networks and Sam’s & Costco scare us into believing that using a portion of the corn crop for alternative fuel will cause worldwide shortages.

Pretty tricky ain’t they?

Now please commence running in circles and panicking.

Why the hell do you need with four bags of rice anyway? Ever heard of potatoes?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's 8 PM - do you know where your children are?

I know where mine are. They’re safely duct-taped to snuggled in their beds. And so now, and only now, can I even begin to mention anything remotely Love Thursday-ish.

Because while the wee Toddler was upright and conscious, he was driving me to the brink of madness and if it were not for that unlucky barista at Tim Horton’s who kept the steaming keg of coffee siphoned to my face, I almost wouldn’t have made it to bedtime with my hair not on fire.

Thanks for that…..friend.

Today was what I like to call a Naughty Day. A regular old day sprinkled with fits of pointless hysteria, perpetual WHY’S and NO’S followed by crinkled noses and air slapping and ovulation cramps (to his credit, he had nothing to do with my cramps but they were still exacerbated by the general unpleasantness of his attitude nonetheless).

But then we made brownies. And you cracked the eggs and smiled patiently as I picked tiny shards of eggshells out of the batter. You carefully poured the water and oil without spilling a drop, and turned your big browns up to me for approval. You pressed all the buttons on my mixer and mixed like you’ve never mixed before. You licked the beaters with squelchy gladness. Raw Eggs (!!!). I’m over it.

And we ate the warm, gooey brownies.

You were happy, I was happy, and on the seventh day, we drank cold milk.

A happy ending to an imperfect day? Meh, not so much. You should’ve heard the rash of shit he gave his Father when it was bedtime.

Because I'm all about

uniting the Democratic party (although I’m probably more of a Libertarian than I care to admit), I’ll lend my support to whomever ends up with the nominee in hand. Despite the fact that I’m pulling for an Obama/Clinton dream ticket I’ll be just as optimistic with a Clinton/Obama ticket.

Well, almost as optimistic.

I have a niggling fear of Hillary Clinton being the presidential nominee. And it has little to do with my own personal views on her political accomplishments or baggage. I find her incredibly dynamic, inspiring, fearless and capable. And I secretly think she’s had Bill in her back pocket for years, despite all the criticism she’s received for “standing by her man.” Girlfriend isn’t stupid.

My fears aren’t about how I view her. It’s about how others view her. I get the distinct impression that many people either like her very much or despise her. I understand the whole “like her very much” opinion because as I mentioned, I find her very likeable. It’s the whole not liking her bit. Some people simply will not head to the polls if she’s the nominee because they don’t like her. And yet they can’t really explain to me why they don’t like her. They just don’t. And for that simple fact, I think Obama is more elect-able against McCain.

Is it an educated dislike of Hillary Clinton or just a general dislike of her corporate helmet hair? Are people startled by her slightly bulging eyes? Her over-use of pant suits? (Hello? We don’t need Hilz to pull a Britney y’all – the pants suit is your friend.) Why do so many people I’ve spoken to vehemently oppose her?

I can’t figure it out.

Yes, she’s elite and yes, she’s as much a politician as Limbaugh is a greasy, pill-popping, hypocrite. But she’s a strongly-inspired woman, mother and leader. The fact that she’s birthed and raised a child speaks volumes to me. If mothers ruled the world there’d be no war because mothers don’t send their children off to kill other mothers’ children. I have zero doubts that she’ll have our troops on their front lawns before her first term is over and this ethereal War on Terror will have less of panicked-stricken effect on the blinder-clad masses.

And? We’ll have our focus back to the business at hand – alternate fuels, tax monies being pumped back into our public schools and nurturing early childhood education programs, and finding creative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle our way back to an actual Super Power that sets an example. Instead of a Super Power that sets its 280 lb ass into another SUV while noshing down a super-sized value meal.

All that having been said, I’m still an Obama supporter first. I believe his message of hope is one that’s been desperately needed for years. His lack of political experience bears little significance because it isn’t up to one man or woman. It’s up to us: small, grassroots efforts with a bit of hope in the back pocket. I believe he’ll inspire a wave of these kinds of efforts and because I know from personal experience – being part of a grassroots movement inspires in a way that can’t be explained. Volunteering with MoveOn in 2004 made me proud to be an American citizen working towards change, and that’s something I hadn’t felt in years.

Since the Clinton years actually.


Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spouting forth

Lately I've been getting a lot of concerns (from people who claim to really care about me ) on how well my children are “socializing” since we’ve decided to home school. Like how do I expect them to relate to their peers if they don’t spend eight hours crammed into a classroom all the while being expected to shut up and sit down? Or how are they going to be able to resolve conflict if they’re not experiencing a 15 minute daily recess spent hiding from bullies? Or how exactly will they learn to stand up to bullies if they don’t endure a completely unsupervised 45 minute bus ride with middle and high school kids?

Life is conflict. Moral conflict, emotional conflict, physical conflict and spiritual conflict. I believe the way we learn to overcome conflict is to actually feel a sense of triumph. How can our kids be expected to “win some lose some” when they’re inundated with conflict all day every day? In my opinion, all they’re learning is to accept defeat quietly when they’re sent to public school. In a safe environment, conflict can happen occasionally. And that’s all it takes, not four years of the malicious middle school years or the sheepish herd of the first five years. It took me until fourth grade to realize what was happening to my Boy before I pulled him out and allowed him to really begin learning - not only about life, literature and linear equations but also about himself.

I wish I’d written this this poignantly excellent article but I didn’t so you can just pretend I did instead.

“Socializing, on the other hand, is what they do with family, friends, acquaintances, people we meet in the community and even with dogs, cats and frogs we encounter. As for socialization … Would you want your kid socialized by 22 same-age peers and one adult stranger?”

I don’t.

From the tin-sided underbellies of the trailer parks to the GAP-clad cul-de-sacs of the suburbs, I don’t need other peoples’ children teaching my kids conservative spins on homosexuality, war, abortion, oral sex and Nickelodeon's latest marketed fads are all about. That’s my job thankyouverymuch.

Not spending all day with a bunch of kids and ONE teacher isn’t going to make my child socially retarded. It’s going to allow him to think for himself. And if life has taught me anything, it’s that intellectual autonomy is essential for personal success.

And I don’t blame the teachers. They’re at the bottom of a very high tower of Important People Who Think They Know What Our Failing Education System Needs Because Of All The Studies They Conduct and our teachers do what they’re told or lose their jobs. All kids must pass this test? Then they really have no choice but to spend the majority of their time preparing for tests that have no real basis for success in life.

I guarantee my kids won’t remember half the questions on a standardized test while quietly sitting in a stuffy classroom. But they will retain the content of a book they read while sprawled on the sunny lawn, loudly crunching on a snack.

Yes, I’m frustrated today. I’m just worn out from a somewhat steady flow of judgment on my parenting and educational choices.

I’m taking somewhat of sanctimonious stance at this moment but I’ve got a bit of mad under my collar. I’ll get over it. This blog is just way cheaper than therapy and I need a moment or two on the couch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I prefer not the label "conspiracy theorist"

rather reality theorist.

Grab nine minutes.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dear Little Boy

You are three years old. And yet just yesterday, you were two years old.

And I have no idea where to begin.

I suppose the best place to start is always the beginning.

You came to us a wrinkly, wailing miniature of your paternal grandfather with deeply black eyes and hairy earlobes. You have grown into a strong-willed, perfectly miraculous combination of your Daddy and Mama.

You are loved on your third birthday more than I can, within my limited forms of human expression, even begin to tell you.

From the moment I closely held the small bundle of you and watched in complete bewilderment as your soft head instinctively rooted towards my right breast, it hurt. It hurt with a force I could never have prepared myself to receive.

This boy child, this indescribably vulnerable human being who fit perfectly into the crook of just one arm, was mine.

I was overcome not only with the warmth of aching elation but also with a crushing gratitude; a sense of thankfulness for this child was in every cell of my recovering body. The entire 48 hours following your arrival, I was in a constant fluctuation between confusion as to whether I had only dreamt you up and bliss because I knew I hadn’t.

You transformed me into a mother I never thought I’d be and you spin my world on a honeyed axis of self-exploration and triumph.

You little stinker.

You 30 pound mass of confident muscle and cheerful energy.

How your big brown eyes make magic in this house! How you’ve managed to snugly wrap each one of us around your curiously chubby fingers. I could stare at your dimpled knuckles for hours while giving in to your every passing wish. You know this about me too and never fail to cloak your baby browns under the blanket of soft eyelashes while whispering “pweeeeeez.”

In your own sweetly tricky way, you can make my world come to a screeching halt and then demand it all over again. And I’ll give it to you. I’ll give it to you with sprinkles on top. How are you able to do this to me? How is it that you’ve taught me to enormously love not only you, but also your big sister more than I dreamed I would and your big brother more than I ever thought I could? I see their eyes reflecting in yours and the combination of my three children instantly spiders from one to the next before I’m able to distinguish one from the other. You are the glue that finished this familial art project. You curiously transformed us from abstract to concrete.

You make me a better mother.

And you make our house very loud.

With every new bicycle trick, song sung-aloud, newly tasted food or temper tantrum statement of independence – I love you my little boy….more than the stars and the moon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April 2nd, 2008

First World Autism Awareness Day

I’m intrigued by and admittedly terrified of autism. It’s not something I feel is a real and present threat for my children, and yet why couldn’t it be? I deeply dislike not having a firm understanding of something so devastating, yet not knowing what could cause or cure autism sends me into panic of another parenting predicament.

I’ve delayed my Toddler’s two-year vaccinations.

And I feel guilt.

Whether or not it’s been officially diagnosed, my Husband’s genetic contribution presents a slight display of behavior that could possible belong on the autism spectrum. I don’t see this as a negative, rather as a beautiful intelligence that allows one to focus on the details and contemplate in ways I can’t.

But isn’t that one of the possible risks for a normally high-functioning child to suddenly develop autism following vaccinations? And to what degree of autism? Nobody knows. Nobody can tell me that my little boy will remain as precocious, intelligent, socially aware and engaging if he is vaccinated.

I realize I’m (as usual) allowing my panicked nature to rule over logic, but logic also tells me that autism rates average 1 in 150 children, more prevalently showing in boys.

My Toddler, the one who melts and breaks my heart daily, turns three in one week. He’s due for a check-up and vaccinations - long-overdue for vaccinations according to his pediatrician. (Granted, this is the same doctor who thought breastfeeding past one year was unnecessary and circumcision would’ve been the easier and more practical choice, but rural life doesn’t always afford one a vast choice of progressive pediatricians.)

I’m struggling with this fear of an unlikely outcome.

Chances are (1/150) the vaccinations won’t trigger autistic behavior.

I hate taking chances with my child.