Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"I'm going to eat Bear's toes!"

Wild Man declared at breakfast the other morning. He climbed down from his chair, walked over to Bear's high chair, climbed under the table, and proceeded to do just that. For his part, Bear was thrilled at the attention his brother was giving him!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Am I Good Enough?

I think a lot about whether I am a good parent, and Kate's recent post at Academic Ecology made me ask myself the "Am I Good Enough?" question yet again. It is very safe to say that C and I ask one another this question a lot. While I do feel like I'm a successful parent most of the time, there are lots of reasons why I think I'm not doing a good job, and I make bad parenting decisions almost every day. C and I do try to discuss the bad decisions, and if I make a bad decision, I expect him to say, "Um, M, that wasn't such a good move," as I also help him recognize his mistakes. Suffice to say, we spend a lot of time talking about our children, how we parent, how we want to parent, and how to be better parents.

After reading Kate's post, I began to wonder if there is a direct correlation between being a good parent and doubting whether one is a good parent. It seems to me that the best parents I know, including my blogging mama buddies Kate, Anastasia, Lilian, Profgrrrl, and AcadeMama, as well as my real life mama friends Meg, ML, Supadiscomama, P-Duck, Jennie, Sarah, and L, are constantly questioning their parenting decisions. And each of these ladies are wonderful, thoughtful, concerned, and involved parents, although each and everyone of them has a parenting style that fits their individual children and lives. I also know these ladies agonize about various parenting decisions similarly to the way C and I do. I think that thinking about parenting doesn't make one neurotic (as I have been told in the past and as I have occasionally felt); rather, it makes one a better parent.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breast-Feeding or Fertility

I came across this article on breast-feeding and fertility while taking a break from grading. I find all things about breast-feeding interesting, and I find the idea that a woman's decision to breast feed a child for an extended period could prevent or limit her ability to have another child based on her age really intriguing and complicated. As a mother of two children, I feel like I'm constantly negotiating between what is right for one child versus what is right for another, and in any given minute, I am privileging the needs of one child over the needs of another. It is a constant struggle for me, and I'm sure for all parents.

After reading this article I found myself wondering if I were in this mother's position would I have stopped nursing Wild Man to get pregnant again. I don't know if I would have. As much as I love Bear and am so thrilled we have him, I can't imagine not nursing Wild Man for as long as we did (19 months for the record). I really believe that nursing for that extended period played a significant role in his development, both positive and negative. I also believe the same for Bear, although we're only 10 months in. The writer, Erica Kain, poses a very salient question, one so many parents are confronted with: how do you balance the needs of one child with the very different needs of another, even if the second child is only hypothetical? I know I struggle with this one every single day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wild Man the Monkey

This image captures his true spirit!

Spring time in CU Land

Last fall Wild Man and I planted about 100 tulip, hyacinth, and crocus bulbs in our front walk way and back yard. In the last few days they've really started to bloom. These flowers make me smile every time I see them, so I thought I'd share them with everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer Courses, Summer Pay

I am teaching during what CU calls Summer Intersession. From May 10th till June 18th I will be teaching 2 full year courses. That means I have about 6 weeks (or approximately 25 classes as we will meet 4 days a week) to present material that I would normally have 28 weeks (or approximately 56 classes as these classes meet twice a week) to present. One of the classes in an American lit class which I have taught before elsewhere, so I'm not too stressed out about it. The other is an Intro to Women's Studies course which I've never taught and I am a somewhat nervous about (I've been reminded repeatedly that this is the course that convinces a lot of students to become Women's Studies majors; thus, I feel like I'm being tested a bit.). The Winter term ended last week, and although I have a lot of grading to do in the next week or so, I now have about 5 weeks to focus on getting the courses together.

I've been thinking for sometime, however, that I'm going to be doing a lot of work in the next 12 weeks or so for not a whole lot of money. I say that knowing full well what I'm paid as a "part-time" instructor is much more than most, if not all, of my friends working as "part-time" instructors in the states. So I was more than a bit surprised to open my contract today to learn that I get paid for the course, not for the term. The pay for a full-year (two semesters) course is twice the pay for a half-year (one semester) course, but being an American and being accustomed to the way things are done at American universities, I assumed my pay was and is based on the semester rather than the course. Thus, I assumed I was paid for the number of courses I teach in a given term, regardless whether I'm teaching what are deemed full-year or half-year courses. With the summer courses, I assumed I would only be paid for one term since I'm technically only teaching for one term,even though the courses are actually full-year courses. Well, in fact, it turns out that CU pays based on the course, not the term. This means that for the months of May and June I will receive the same amount I was paid for teaching my full-year English course from September 1 to April 30. When I realized this, I literally almost fell on the floor. I immediately called C, and he actually spit out the coffee he was drinking. The summer just got a little brighter for us, at least economically.

Spring shoes

Last week, I went on a bit of a shopping spree and bought myself some clothes that actually fit. Yesterday I stopped in a shoe store just to see if I could find any shoes to go with my new clothes, and I found these in yellow. Since they are cork, they are actually fairly comfortable for being so high. C was totally shocked that I actually bought yellow shoes (I own nothing in yellow, but I think they will go with several of the dresses I bought last week). I can't wait for the weather to warm up a few more degrees so that I can wear them!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wild Man's Quote of the Day

"Kissing is good, Mommy. But don't kiss Daddy so much."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

I want my own office

The title of this post says it all. I have access to 3 office on campus, but I share every one of them with multiple people. As a part-time faculty member, I am discouraged from using said offices to do any of my own work. They are simply locations where I can meet with students. In fact, I am expected to coordinate my office hours with all of my office mates so that none of us are in the office at the same time (this is ostensibly to give us privacy while meeting with students, but the implication is also that we're only supposed to use the offices during our office hours). As I spend a fair amount of time on campus (for various reasons, but primarily because we only have one car, and C and I teach on the same days) I spend a lot of time in C's office. I do this because I really don't have anywhere else to do. And I hate it. I hate that I don't have a space of my own on campus. I hate that I'm constantly in his building and that I see the people he works with all the time. I hate that being in his office reminds me that I don't have a tenure-track position. I hate that I can't apply to use a study carrel in the library because I'm only "part-time" (yes, I'm only part-time, but I teach more courses than most t-t faculty).

I literally use a corner of C's desk, and I have one bookshelf in his office. I am acutely aware that this is not my space, and I'm constantly leaving when he meets with students. He repeatedly tells me I don't have to leave, but I don't want to be in his office during those times. Truth be told, I don't want to be in his office at all. I do have an office at home, but again, for various reasons I end up being on campus more often than not. Most days I can handle this situation. But today it is really getting to me. Simply put, not having an office (even a shared office that I can access on a daily basis) reminds me of the impermanence of my position and makes me feel like I'm not valued by CU at all.

Body Image

I've started this post about 5 times, and every time I begin it with a lengthy caveat about being thin and how I know that most women would like to have the problem I'm currently having with my body. I'm not sure why I feel it necessary to apologize for being thin, but I do. Ok, so that's not true. I feel it necessary to apologize for being thin and for complaining about being thin because I've been made to feel like it isn't ok for me to have body issues based on my thinness or that my thinness is an affront on people who aren't as thin as I am or that I need to be reprimanded for being thin because, after all, I'm thin to make other people feel bad about themselves. Case in point, at my wedding, my sister-in-law told me I made her sick because of how small my waist is. Nice thing to be told at my wedding, right? But then I thought this is my blog, and I will write whatever I want to write, comments be damned.

Anyway, since giving birth to Bear, my body has changed dramatically. I have lost all of the weight I gained while pregnant and then some. In fact, I now weigh about 10 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant with Bear. None of my clothes fit, and shopping trips are incredibly frustrating. Anything I try on I try on knowing I will have to have altered. C is getting concerned as I eat like a horse (literally, I eat as much as he does), and I'm still losing weight even though I'm not trying to and I'm not really exercising (chasing after a pre-schooler and breastfeeding Bear do count as exercise in my mind). But this post isn't about any potential health issues (of which I'm fairly certain there aren't any; my metabolism just seems to be in overdrive lately, although I do have a doctor's appointment to get everything checked out just in case). It is about body issues.

I'm so tired of pulling out my favorite shirt/skirt/dress/pants/jeans only to discover that everything is too big. I know this is an issue lots of people would love to have (there I go apologizing), but I don't. I feel like I'm too thin. Seriously, everything I own needs to be taken in. It's incredibly frustrating. I don't want to be this thin. I don't want to have the body of a 12-year-old girl with big boobs (boobs that will disappear as soon as I stop breastfeeding Bear). Before I got pregnant with Bear, I had some curves, not a lot mind you, but some. Now, I just look skinny. I want to be able to wear something without having to cinch my belt as tight as possible. I don't want people to say, "My god, you've gotten so skinny." Or "I wish I was as thin as you." Really I don't. I just want to wear my favorite dress and my favorite jeans and know that they look nice on me, not like they are falling off of me.