Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Support the Jena 6

I've added a link to Color of Change's website in support of the Jena 6. Please click on the link and sign the on-line petition urging the Jena district attorney and the governor of Louisiana to free these young men.

Separate Space

It is 8:26 in the evening. Wild Man is sound asleep in his room, and I am sitting in my office getting organized for tomorrow. I don't think words can truly express how happy I am to have my own work space again. Granted, it is a space I share with C, but as we actually work quite well in the same space, I don't mind sharing it. The office is truly a Wild Man-free zone, as we keep a baby gate at the door at all times (this is primarily to keep Wild Man out of the cats' litter box, but it serves a variety of purposes!). I no longer have to worry about him tossing my books about everywhere, and I can actually leave paper on the floor. We're very happy in our new home, and I'm very happy with my office. I actually worked from home today rather than schlepping everything to my office at school, and I got more done than I do when I'm on campus. This is a separation of spheres I am in favor of!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


I'm currently experiencing a strange sense of relief. Tonight for the first time in 11 months, Wild Man went to sleep without nursing and with what C described as a minimum of fuss. Tonight, for the first time in 11 months, I was out of the house past 7:30. I wasn't home to put Wild Man to sleep. I have been dreading today for weeks, ever since I found out there was a lecture that I really needed to attend tonight. Not only was it in one of my areas of interest, but one of my committee members organized it and specifically asked me to attend to meet the speaker. I couldn't--and didn't want to--say no. Knowing how worried I was about being away from home at bedtime, C volunteered to give up his weekly softball night so we didn't have to arrange for a babysitter (although Academama very kindly offered to watch Wild Man for us!).

When I left this evening, Wild Man was in the bathtub, and I essentially snuck out so he wouldn't miss me too much. I was a bit upset, but I needed to do this--as much for him as for me. He needs to know how to go to sleep without me. I called C as soon as I left the lecture, and for some reason, my cell phone was fading in and out. All I was able to determine from the phone call was that Wild Man was not upset but he also was not quite asleep. When I got home 15 minutes later, I found C in the kitchen unthawing breastmilk for Wild Man's bottles. Wild Man fell asleep sitting in C's lap about 5 minutes after I called, and C was able to transfer him to his crib without a problem. He did, indeed, fuss a bit earlier in the evening, and he drank all the milk I pumped earlier today. But he didn't scream himself to sleep, he didn't cry for me, and he wasn't traumatized. He's been asleep for over 2 hours now, which indicates that he'll be down for a while if not the whole night. I'm a little sad that I didn't see him right before he went to sleep, but mainly I'm relieved. This allows me a lot more freedom than I've experienced since Wild Man was born.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Make-up and Wild Man

Wild Man and I have a "grooming" routine every morning. He plays in our bedroom (rearranging books on a bookshelf or chasing the cats under the bed) while I get ready in the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom. In the past few weeks, he has become seriously interested in watching me blow dry my hair and put on what little make-up I wear. The day he started reaching for the blow dryer while it sat on the sink was the day I started pretending to do his hair and make-up. I pretend to put mousse on his hair, and then I actually do blow-dry it. He loves feeling the warm air in his face, which totally cracks me up. A few days after we started this routine, I noticed he was intently watching me while I put on mascara and a bit of blush. So I broke out a spare (and make-up free) brush and swept it across his cheeks. Wild Man threw his head back and giggled. Now, every morning, I give him the full treatment--everything that I do to my face I pretend to do to his, and he loves it.

Yesterday morning, C witnessed this routine in its entirety for the first time; he'd seen me do Wild Man's hair, but not do his make-up. My normally liberal husband was a little taken aback. He point blank asked me if I thought the routine was a good idea. I point blank asked him why he asked that question. He said it seemed a little odd. When I asked him to elaborate on odd, he couldn't. I then pointed out that Wild Man has no idea what make-up is or why I wear it but C doesn't. I then reminded him that Wild Man has stared at C with the same intensity when C shaves. I think Wild Man is just trying to figure out what it is we're doing. I don't think it has any gender/sexuality implications. Wild Man doesn't even know he is a boy, for crying out loud. My dad used to cover my face in shaving cream and give me a razor (minus the blade) and let me shave my face while he shaved his; that didn't have any adverse affects on me (although I have no idea what such adverse affects this could have on a little kid). I said all of this as I mimed applying mascara to Wild Man. When I was finished, Wild Man toddled off to pick up his newest toy: a truck that he picked out himself.

The conversation made me realize something: my husband has some gender hang-ups. Although he didn't say it, he was clearly thinking "boys don't wear make-up." Wild Man has carried my purse around, played with dolls, and tried to put on my shoes. None of these activities bothered C. But he was troubled by me pretending to put make-up on Wild Man--or was he bothered because Wild Man clearly enjoyed it--although I think he enjoys my undivided attention more than anything.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Wild Man

I'm tired of referring to S as simply S. It isn't remotely descriptive, so from now own he will be "Wild Man," which is what C and I routinely call him. As he is now toddling around everywhere and into everything, the nickname fits him.

Family phone calls

And the chaos that will be my son's first birthday has already begun. Between the two of them, my mil and sil called us 8 times this weekend with questions about S's birthday. My mil wanted to know about: the theme, the decorations, the food, and potential gifts. My sil wanted to know if she could make the cake, the invitations, and the food. My mil has repeatedly asked if we need her to bring anything--mind you she and my sil are driving 1,400 miles to attend the party. What is my family doing, you might ask? My mom and brother are flying out to spend the week with us, and my brother has bought S a "birthday boy" shirt. My mom has started buying copies of my favorite childhood books to give S. As usual C's family wants to be overly involved, and my family is being low-key--which his mom interprets as uninterested. I have no idea how I'm going to survive their joint visits.

Bad Writing

I just spent the last hour and a half skimming a very poorly written critical work on Edith Wharton. I skimmed it because the topic of the book is relevant to my research, but it was incredibly hard to read and even harder to understand. I've been reading in my study carrel in the library, and I'm sure I've annoyed quite a few people each time I exclaimed about the poorly structured argument and awkwardly framed sentences. What intrigues me is that the book was published by the University of Alabama, which is a fairly reputable press. I can't help but think if this person can get published then surely I can get published.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


First I want to thank everyone who commented on Monday's post, "Unprepared." As many of you predicted, the lunch-time temper tantrum was an isolated incident. S happily nursed at lunch every other day last week, and two days he nursed himself to sleep. I placed my sleeping boy in his school crib, and he proceeded to take an hour and a half long nap both days. That makes me feel good because he rarely naps so long when his teachers rock him to sleep.

In a some what related topic, I've been asked by at least four people in the past week when I plan on weaning S. None of these people are good friends, none of them S's teachers, and none of them should really care how long I nurse my son. Why are people so fascinated with breastfeeding and pregnancy? Why do said people care so much what I do with my breasts?

Monday, September 10, 2007


I just returned to my office after having my daily lunch date with S. Every day I head over to his school to nurse him and to hang out with him for a while. Our ritual is simple; I arrive, and he is generally waiting for me anxiously. We get into our spot, and he nurses on one side. He generally gets distracted by all the activity in the room after 10 minutes or so, and we go play for a while. After a while, we head back to our spot, and he nurses on the other side, usually for about 5 minutes. We play for a few more minutes, while his teacher sets up his lunch. I place him in his high chair and watch him eat a few bites before I leave. It is a routine I have come to depend on. I really enjoy seeing him in the middle of the day, especially now that he is at school for 7 hours a day. Seeing him and spending this time with him assuages some of my guilt. It is difficult to manage sometimes because I often get into a working groove and have to interrupt it to go see him, but I am not ready to give that up.

I was completely unprepared for his reaction today. He was fussy all day yesterday, so I wasn't surprised to hear that he'd been fussy this morning. As I picked him up to walk to the rocking chair we generally sit in, he started to cry. The crying quickly escalated into a full scale temper tantrum. It was clear that he didn't want to nurse at all. I gave him a few puffs to get him to calm down, and then his teacher warmed up his lunch. I sat with him as he ate his lunch, and he was much, much happier eating leftover roast beef and diced tomatoes than trying to nurse. He even offered me some of his pineapple. I stayed as long as I usually do, and when I was leaving, his teacher asked if he nursed at all. When I said no, she said he may be starting to wean himself, at least off of the lunch-time nursing session. I suddenly realized as tired as I am of sore nipples (8 teeth make a difference), nursing bras, nursing pads, and pumping, I am not ready for him to day-wean himself. I left his school, returned to my office, and wanted to cry. I've been trying to think of all the reasons why he didn't want to nurse that I can--he was too hungry and wanted solid food, his teeth hurt and he wanted something hard to chew on, etc.--but none of them make me feel any better. My little boy is growing up fast, and some days that makes me very excited, especially when I witness his new accomplishments and watch him figuring out the world. Today, it makes me sad. I just want him to want to snuggle with me a while longer.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Jena Six

I want to know why the story of Jena Six isn't being broadcast on all the news networks. I'm somewhat ashamed that I haven't heard about it before. Thanks to kate at ak8 a cat a mission for posting a link to the story. The Group News Blog writes about it much better than I could. I've lived most of my life in the South, and I've witnessed some horrible examples of racism. I have, however, never seen anything like this. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised, and that is what really disappoints me. Why do our national leaders continue to ignorantly assume that race is no longer an issue in this country?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mothers and Stress

British researchers have found that mothers who prefer to cradle their children to the right may be at risk of depression, according to this article. I haven't read the entire study, just the snippet on MSNBC, but I have to wonder about the validity of the findings. First, the study only included 79 women, and they weren't interviewed. Rather they were asked to hold their infants and then complete a survey. I tend to hold S with my left arm, but that is because I'm right-handed. Holding him in my left arm, allows me to use my right arm to get things done. Wouldn't it make more sense to find out what sort of help new mothers need when they feel stressed out?

Monday, September 03, 2007

First Female Beefeater

Finally, a female Beefeater! I so wish we could go to London to meet her!

They're back!

The crazy, wonderful, and always insightful bloggers at The Rhetorical Situation are back. These guys are always good for a laugh, and as odd as they are, they also always make me think.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Breastfeeding discrimination

This article is about 2 months old, but it made me so angry that I had to post it. Why do the powers that be, in this case the medical examiner's board of Massachusetts, make it so hard for mothers? I still think it is outrageous that there have to be laws to make it legal to breastfeed in public. Thanks to Lilian for posting the link to the article.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

"The Last Kiss"

I recently watched a movie called "The Last Kiss," and I've been thinking about the implications of one's last kiss since. The title refers to the last kiss a person has—as in, the last person you'll ever kiss. The premise of the movie is fairly cliché: a couple, who've been together for 3 years, get pregnant unexpectedly; they decide to have the baby but not marry; the man begins to feel trapped and has a one night stand with a younger woman; his girlfriends find out and dumps him; he immediately realizes he's made a huge mistake and tries to get the girlfriend back. By the end of the film, he succeeds, but I didn't feel like that was much of a happy ending. So here's my question: do some men get so freaked out by the "permanence" of marriage that they would knowingly sabotage a relationship? Do some women? The films genders the answer, as it suggests that women are always ready to commit while men have to be dragged kicking and screaming down the aisle, which I certainly don't believe.

I realize the theme of the film is supposed to be that people get scared, but true love can conquer those fears. I also get that part of the theme is to forgive those we love. But the idea that one needs to have one last fling before committing to one person for life has never made any sense to me. I asked a friend about this one (admittedly a male friend, so I guess I gender the issue some what myself), and he equated it to a prisoner on death row having his last meal. As you can imagine, I didn't like that analogy—my friend equated marriage with a death sentence. I understand being scared about the lifelong commitment, but I don't understand responding to that fear by being unfaithful. But then, I don't get being unfaithful either. Unfaithfulness has affected my extended family a lot in the past 5 years, and C and I have talked about it a lot. Both of our siblings had affairs; my sister's affair ended her marriage (although the marriage had been in trouble for a long, long time), and she's now married to the man she with whom she had the affair. C's brother's affair lasted at least 2 years, and somehow he and his wife were able to work through it. They have a strong marriage now, and I’m happy they stayed together (and I believe my sister-in-law is a much better person than I am). While I think both of our siblings were wrong, I judge their actions very differently. I can forgive (not that I've been asked for forgiveness or that I believe that my feelings matter at all in the separate situations) my sister, but I found I much harder to forgive my brother-in-law. I think my sister treated her ex-husband horribly and that she should have found a different way out of her marriage, but she had the affair out of loneliness and desperation. C's brother had an affair because he felt trapped—that is precisely what he said to C. I've even heard him say that his wife "trapped" him. Well, I was at that wedding, I don’t remember anyone holding a gun to his head during the ceremony.

So I don't get hurting someone you love because you're afraid. I've honestly never thought that C is the last person I'll ever kiss. I'm in love with my husband, and I fall in love with him over and over again all the time. But I'm the last person to romanticize marriage. Marriage is hard work, and I really don't think most people realize that. Despite my liberal views on most everything, I have to admit that I'm fairly conservative about marriage. I believe deeply in the vow I made to my husband—and not from any religious or moral sense either. I made a promise to him that we would be together for life, and I will do my very best to keep that promise. I'm not saying that I don't believe in divorce. My mother divorced my biological father (that's a story for another post) when I was 5, and I believe that was the best decision she could have made. My dad, who is technically my step-dad, is 1,000,000 times a better dad that my BF, whom I haven't seen n 19 years and have no desire to see. I also think my sister made a smart decision when she divorced her husband, but I also think (and she agrees as we've talked about this) that she would have been wiser not to have an affair.

So back to the movie. I'm still trying to figure out why it bothered me so much, and I think I've got it. The boyfriend confesses all to the girlfriend because he can't deal with the guilt (I hate that by the way—don't confess and destroy someone else because you can't deal with your own guilt, especially if your relationship is salvageable). He makes several grand gestures, and she ultimately forgives him. That she forgives him so easily is what bothers me. Despite everything I've just written—and do believe—about the commitment of marriage, I consider infidelity the one unforgivable thing. I do think it can be overcome and the relationship can become stronger; my brother and sister-in-law are evidence of that. But the movie makes it seem as though some flowers and groveling are enough to make everything all better, and that bothers me. But then, as I notice the post has become much longer than I intended, I have to remember it is a movie, and movies tend to do oversimplify it. But I do think the concept of "the last kiss" is odd and promotes the idea that women only want to get married and men never want to get married.