Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just thought I'd tell everyone. . .

  • I really want to go shoe shopping.
  • I'd rather be doing just about anything than getting ready to go teach.
  • I wish Bear's teeth would come in. He seems to be cutting a mouthful at once. This makes for a cranky baby and a cranky mama.
  • I'm in love with my children. Bear lights up whenever he sees Wild Man, and when Wild Man kisses Bear, Bear laughs out loud. Wild Man then announces, "Look, he loves me! I'm a good big brother, Mommy."
  • C and I are trying to figure out how to get to San Francisco in a few months for a long weekend. I am presenting at a conference, and we thought we'd make an early anniversary trip out of it. We'll take Bear, but if everything goes as planned, someone will come stay with Wild Man.
  • I can't believe people are already asking me what we're doing for Bear's first birthday. It is still 3 months away!
  • Oh, and I can't believe my baby is 9 months old. Sigh.
  • This week Wild Man is insisting on being called Robin Hood. C is Little John, and I'm Maid Marian. Bear is Friar Tuck. Wild Man is using his toy golf clubs as his bow and arrow, and as I was leaving the house today, he was putting the Sheriff of Nottingham in jail for being "unkind to everyone."
  • I am so ready for spring.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just because . . .

This picture makes me smile.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Boys and Girls, Celebrity Parents, and Stupid Tabloids

I've frequently blogged about my determination to bring Wild Man and Bear up to be who they want to be, even if that means they want to be boys who wear dresses (for the record, I'm too lazy to go through my archives to link to these posts, but they are there). So, even though I try to stay away from tabloid stuff, I was really bothered by recent headlines like, "Is Angelina Jolie Turning Shiloh into a Boy?"

I am upset by this article for a number of reasons. I mean, first, who cares? (And yes, I get the irony of that statement, since clearly I care enough to read the article online). Second, the headline really gets to me. Why do must the author assume that the mother is to blame? Seriously, why is the mother who has all the control when it comes to dressing her daughter? I mean, obviously, the mother is the one making all the fashion choices in the family. Clearly neither the father nor the child have any say in what the child is wearing. And there is absolutely no way a little girl would ask to have her haircut short. Nor is there a possible logical explanation for the haircut other than the fact that her mother wants her to look like a boy (um, I don't know, these people do have 6 kids. Maybe they don't want to brush the kid's hair every single day.). Beyond that, the language really bothers me. Yes, I know it is all subjective, and it is a tabloid--or sort of. The blog I link to often includes some decent articles on parenting. I'm not surprised to see this sort of thing on "Life & Style," but I am a little bit on this particular blog (although perhaps that says something about my own naivete).

That said, I really dislike how we continually have to point out when a "boy" doesn't look like a "boy" or when a "girl" doesn't look like a "girl." I also think the evidence the authors offer is just odd. So Shiloh likes to be called John? I have a 3-year-old, and Wild Man routinely announces, "Mommy, we're playing a game today. Now you must call me X." Typically he wants to be Gloria, the hippo from the movie Madagascar, with whom he is completely in love. He had everyone call him Gloria for an entire month last year. And he also likes to wear my high heels with C's ties and occasionally he asks to wear "sparkles" (make-up). I've also painted his nails, at his request. Do I think this means he wants to be a girl? No, I don't. But if I did, would I care? Only insofar as I would see it as my job to help him make that transition so he could be a happy and fulfilled individual. Here's the thing: kids experiment. One day, Wild Man wants to be a mommy and nurse his dinosaurs, and the next day he wants to be a superhero and fight the mean guys. So I applaud Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for allowing their kids to be who they want to be, knowing that they and their children will have to deal with stupid articles like this one.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Warning: Unpleasantness Ahead

I want to begin this post first by writing that I am about to be uncharitable. I'm about to write about something that really, really annoys me, so if you don't want to read me be annoyed, stop now. I also want to say that I do realize that I live in Canada. Now for the real post.

I'm really, really tired of getting phone calls from relatives saying, "I want to buy Wild Man and Bear a gift, but instead, I'm just going to send you money so you can buy it for them. Be sure to buy X, as I think they will really enjoy this. Or, you can just buy them whatever you think they will like and/or need. Oh, and also be sure to take pictures of them using the gift from me that you bought for them from me and send me those pictures. Oh, and make sure your 3-year-old understands that the money being used to buy the gift is from me, not you. In fact, I expect a lengthy phone call from your 3-year-old telling me how excited he is to play with/wear the thing you bought him with my money. Incidentally, start prepping the baby for this too, as I will make comparable demands of him as son as he is able to understand the concept of a gift."

In all seriousness, I really appreciate that people want to give the boys gifts. I also appreciate that I live in Canada and shipping things here can be bit of a hassle, but really, it is neither that difficult nor that expensive to ship things here. I mean, one could buy stuff from the Canadian version of Amazon and ship a gift to the boys. It also isn't that difficult to go buy a gift, package it, and take it to the post office and ship it to Canada. I also appreciate that people want to buy the boys gifts they will like, but again, is it so hard to say, "Hey M and C, I want to buy the boys a gift. What do Bear and Wild Man like right now?" I generally say, "Well, Wild Man is really into dinosaurs, and Bear is into Little People. But both boys play with lots of different things. They both also like books, especially Wild Man. They will likely be happy with whatever you want to give them." I find this type of gift giving lazy and annoying. The purpose of giving a gift, at least in my mind, is to show that you have put some thought into buying the gift. The purpose is not to make my life more difficult.

Oh, and no, buying a gift card isn't any more helpful. They aren't teenagers. They don't enjoy going to a store and picking something out, and especially with Wild Man, taking him to a store and allowing him to pick something out could easily lead to a meltdown. They are easy to buy for. Ok, I'm finished being unpleasant for awhile.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

More Home Improvements

We recently purchased an electric fireplace, and while I think it is so very tacky, I've enjoyed the extra warmth it has provided to the main floor of the house. I've also enjoyed the reduction to our monthly energy bill as the tacky fireplace is much more efficient than our outdated baseboard heaters. This concludes the home improvement posts for today.


Our kitchen is almost done! Here are some shots of our new cabinets. Pay particular attention to our lovely wooden counter tops! We haven't decided what kind of material we want to use, and C and I are currently debating having them installed versus installing them ourselves. Can you guess which method I'm advocating?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Babies, Clothes, and Little Girls

I've been organizing all of Bear's outgrown clothing and sorting through Wild Man's old clothes. I'm doing this primarily because Bear is growing so fast that at 8 months, he has already outgrown a lot of 6 to 12 month clothing. In fact, he is already wearing pajamas that Wild Man wore at 15 months--when he was walking. Bear is big! At a check-up a few weeks ago, he weighed 19 pounds 15.5 ounces--3 more pounds that Wild Man weighed at the same age. Based on the clothes he is wearing, Bear is easily 2 inches longer than Wild Man as at this age too. So I'm going through all of Wild Man's clothes to see what Bear can wear and to determine if I need to go shopping for anything.

As I was going through all the clothes, I came across the box of girl's clothes I've been hanging on to since Bear was born. As you may remember, we were told that Bear was going to be a girl. Although we were somewhat skeptical, we prepared as though Bear was a girl, so we received lots of gifts of girl clothing. When Bear was born, we were surprised, but I wasn't at all disappointed. In fact, I was a bit relieved. I felt like it made sense. Given my tumultuous relationship with my mother, I was more than a bit nervous to have a daughter. I was totally unsure that I would be able to avoid making similar mistakes. I'm not saying that boys are any easier to parent, but given my experience with Wild Man, I was more sure of my ability to effectively parent a boy. I remember thinking all of this when I packed up all the clothes that were no longer "appropriate" for Bear (although in the first days, the boy wore a lot of pink, I must say, at least until we found Wild Man's newborn clothes and got them washed!). A few friends had urged me to mourn the loss of the daughter, and while I can see the validity of that for some people, I didn't feel that need. Because I was somewhat skeptical that we were having a girl, I hadn't really invested myself in having a daughter. In fact, we were completely unable to agree on a name, and the only name we had agreed was a boy's name--the name we gave Bear.

At the time I decided to keep a lot of the clothes (I gave some away, and I did sell 2 big boxes of clothes) not because I was hoping for a girl but because we weren't sure we were done having babies. C and I decided it made sense to hang on to the clothes until we decided for sure we were done. Lately, we've been talking about having a third, and we're both feeling more certain that our family is complete for a variety of reasons. So when I opened the box of saved girl's clothes, I decided to just go through it and get rid of everything. I was totally unprepared for the sudden sadness I felt. All of a sudden I realized that I will most likely never have a daughter. While I'm ok with that, I was not expecting to tear up a little bit as I folded a brown sundress with a giraffe print that Wild Man had happily picked out sometime last spring.

(I feel it necessary to explain that I just spent 15 minutes trying to compose the last sentence. Sadness isn't exactly what I felt. In fact, I paused in writing this post to talk to C and to try to explain to him what I was thinking as I folded the tiny little girl clothes once again. Wistful may be more accurate, but even that isn't quite right. Sad isn't accurate because that suggests that I feel like I'm missing something in my life (or at least it does to me), and I don't feel that. I can't put a word to the emotion at this moment, but it was something between sad and wistful.)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

JK Open House and Other Musings on Wild Man

Yesterday we attended the open house for Wild Man's Junior Kindergarten program. As I've written about here, choosing the right JK program for Wild Man was not easy for us. It was complicated for all the usual reasons, but the fact that we are Americans living in Canada made it even more complex. We ultimately chose to send him to the school that is affiliated with the university's daycare. While convenience played some role in our decision (his daycare teachers will actually walk him to and from JK every day), we primarily chose the school because it is 1 of the top 5 elementary schools in our province.

That said, when C and I toured it the day we registered Wild Man, we left feeling a bit uncertain about our decision. I think most of that uncertainty stemmed from the reality that we had just registered our 3-year-old for Junior Kindergarten. Even though we have a much better understanding of the Canadian school system now, we're still finding it hard to separate what we know about kindergarten (as in, you go to kindergarten when you are 5, not 3 or even 3 and 3/4s, as Wild Man will be when he starts JK in September) with what Wild Man will experience in JK. So we went to yesterday's Open House as much for us as we did for Wild Man. We wanted some sort of understanding of what his day will be like and what the program requires of him. We met the teachers and toured the rooms. Wild Man had an opportunity to explore the room and ask questions. He also discovered that many of his friends from daycare will be attending JK at the school too. Wild Man left excited and happy, and C and I left relieved. In fact as we walked to the car, he looked at me and said, "Ok, now I know we made the right decision." I agree completely. Now that we've had an opportunity to talk to the teachers, I realize Wild Man is prepared for this, and he will benefit from the experience, even at his relatively young age. I am still somewhat concerned about how he will handle the transition come September.

While I've always been acutely aware that Wild Man is a lot like me, I've become even more aware of that fact recently. As C has told me every time I've expressed concern about Wild Man's similarities to me, this means he has a lot of good qualities. Like me, Wild Man is empathetic, sensitive, caring, and gentle. He is also assertive, out-spoken, and independent. These are the qualities I like most about myself, and I am very pleased that Wild Man shares them with me. But, like me, Wild Man also has a tendency to be overly anxious and easily over-stimulated or overwhelmed. Further, while his sensitivity and empathy for others means that he has the ability to feel for others, it also means he picks up on everything.

For example, C and I were both stressed out about the whole process of choosing a school for Wild Man, and we spoke about it in front of him several times. One night he couldn't go to sleep because he'd heard us talking. When I checked on him and asked why he was awake an hour after bedtime, he told me, "I made you and Daddy worry about my school. Mommy, I don't want you to worry about me." My 3-year-old was worried that I was worrying about his future too much. I gave him a long hug and tried my best to reassure him that it wasn't his fault that I was worried. I also tried to explain that I'm the grown-up and that C and I want him to be a kid and to not worry about grown-up things. I'm not sure he understood, but he did relax and went to sleep soon after.

On some level, I love that he wants to take care of me, but I want him to understand that isn't his job. And as I was the kid who worried about everything, I feel like I've passed this on to him. My parents never took the time to help me understand that I didn't need to worry about everything or that it wasn't my responsibility to worry about money or illness or other grown-up things. I want to try to explain that to Wild Man. I want him to be a kid. I don't want him to feel like an adult at 10, which is how I felt. I want him to know it is ok to be a little boy.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Wild Man's first open house

Tonight we will be attending an open house for Wild Man's Junior Kindergarten program. C and I tried to explain it to him this morning, and he was a bit distraught, as he didn't quite understand that he would continue to go to his current school while also going to JK. Having an open house in March when the program starts in September seems very, very early to me. I mean, I doubt Wild Man will remember all of this come September. As for me, I'm alternately excited and sad at the idea. It hardly seems possible that he is old enough for JK.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I just want to write that I totally love my English class. Given the structure of CU, I've been teaching the same class since September, so I've really gotten to know these students. And these are some bright, considerate, thinking individuals. I was uncertain about teaching a year long course, but now I love it. I think the method has a lot of pedagogical merit, and I can't wait to teach another one.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Job, blah, blah, blah

Last week I had a meeting with Dr. Feminist to discuss my future in the department. I updated her on the current situation, including the fact that Dr. Nice Guy has had several conversations with the Dean. I made this appointment at Dr. Nice Guy's suggestion. He was concerned that if he was the only person speaking with the Dean about our situation that we didn't have a very strong case. So I asked the hard question: "Have you spoken to the dean about a more permanent position?" I really hated asking this question, but I have to say, I was a bit floored by her response, which was, essentially, "No, I haven't because I didn't realize you wanted a more permanent position." Now I feel like I've been really up front with Dr. Feminist--I've told her we were hoping for a partner placement, that I'd be happy to keep working in her department, that I'd be happy with a visiting position, that I'd take a joint appointment in Women's Studies and another department (I currently teach in three departments), and that I'm on the market. I now realize that I never specifically asked her if she'd speak to the dean, but given that Women's Studies is seriously short handed (only 2 full-time profs and 5 joint appointed profs and about 600 majors as well as a brand new MA and a Ph.D. program), I didn't realize I had to. Sigh. I feel a bit stupid and a bit annoyed.

So she happily agreed to speak with the dean. We'll see what happens.