Wednesday, March 30, 2011
I'm going to be perfectly honest here. When I see these headlines, my very first instinctual reaction is: Tell me about it. Then, of course, I feel guilty and think about how much I love my kid and how lucky I am and all that yadda yadda that people do when they're afraid they've revealed their true inner monster.
Today I got to thinking...what is it about our generation that is so terribly ambivalent about parenthood? The obvious answer is that roles have changed over the years, and you now have women with careers and men with more paternal responsibility, and it's only natural that living in our "want it all" culture leads us to inevitable disappointment and frustration when we can't have it all.
But then I started thinking more (I had 2 1/2 hours of alone time today. My brain surprised me with all kinds of thoughtful thinking.) and it struck me that people probably haven't changed all that much over time. Fifty years ago when women were almost exclusively in the home, running a household and raising children, I don't really think that every single one of them felt completely fulfilled and at peace with their lives. Or anyone else for that matter. I think that from the beginning of time, people have been frustrated by their situations and longed for better circumstances. In fact, I'd say that's the only way a species can advance.
Sooo...(Seriously, my brain hasn't had this much exercise in...a long time), why do you suppose that we hear so much more about parental dissatisfaction these days? The moms and dads from my childhood, including my own, seemed happy enough, and by all accounts our grandparents were the picture of domesticity and hard work. So what happened to us? I'll tell you. We're whiners.
Yes. You. Me. We complain to our friends, we complain on Facebook and on our blogs, we complain to our children and to our bosses. We complain to our mothers and fathers, we complain in books and newspaper articles. We are obsessed with venting every feeling and frustration we experience in an effort to a) gain sympathy and b) be reassured that we are not alone in our self-pity.
Our parents didn't do that. Okay, maybe they did it a little, but they didn't have the internet to fan the flames. I'm fairly certain our grandparents didn't do that. Who had the time, with ten children and no washer and dryer? I'm quite confident that from the beginning of time, moms and dads have felt put upon and underappreciated for their own, unique familial roles, regardless of how those roles have changed. But we are just now becoming comfortable voicing our displeasure and feeling justified in our malcontent. We feel that we should be happy all the time, and when we aren't we need a scapegoat. Those damn kids. If I wasn't saddled with them I'd...I'd...
Well, guess what? The childless are unhappy too. As are the employed, the unemployed, the wealthy, the poor, the blondes, the brunettes...you get the idea. Maybe if we all stopped buying into this mass pity party, we could take that energy and focus it on improving our situations. Who's with me?
Maybe I'm being alienating here, and it's not my intention to be, but I also think that people need to form opinions and not be afraid to state them at the risk of offending others' sensibilities. There's tolerance, there's respect, and I'm all for both of those things. But there's also two sides to every story, or perhaps more, and a whole lot of perspectives to consider. I'm just sayin'...
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
From another time
Freshly inked with independence
Full of plans that had no time to be made
I saw you then
As I see so many others
With a place for me somewhere in the fallacy
I hoped, I chased
I put on a show for you
You bought a ticket
You didn't leave when the curtain fell
But I forgot to take off my mask
I remember things
Saying the right things
I remember hearing them
It was all a show
And when it ended, I didn't notice
The lights turned on
The audience left
And I stood there
Looking at you
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Since then, we've been intending to get together again. We were supposed to visit when we went back to Canada...didn't happen. They were supposed to come after Christmas...didn't happen. I've been holding out hope that we can visit them when we move back to Canada this summer. But then...
I get an email from June, announcing that they will arrive in Brooklyn in two days! For a whole week! I was pretty excited. E and Zoey, their little ball of good times, are only six days apart in age and similar in a lot of ways. They got along great when they first met last year, and the idea of getting them together again, now that they've blossomed into full-blown toddlerhood, was extremely enticing.
E: Agh! I dropped my toast!
M: Don't worry, babe. Just pick it up. No big deal.
E: Don't worry.
M: Don't worry, be ____
M: Remember that song?
E: Yes. Who sings that song, mama?
M: Bobby McFerrin.
E: Bobby McFerrin. Where is Bobby McFerrin?
M: He died. (I swear I thought he was dead. I have no idea where I got that from.)
E: What did he die to?
M: I'm not sure, a heart attack I think.
E: What is heart attack?
M: It's when your heart stops. You know how the heart goes "lub-dup"? Well, when it stops doing that, you die.
E: When my heart stops, I get another one. It will be yellow.
M: Don't worry babe. Your heart won't stop.
E: WHEN it stops, mama. WHEN it stops, I get another one.
M: Okay, that sounds good.
E: What did that man die to?
M: What man?
E: Bobby McFerrin.
M: Let me check. (Google, Wikipedia...wait a tic...still alive!) Oh, I lied. He's still alive! He didn't die, babe.
E: He didn't die. You lied.
M: Sorry about that.
Now that we're entering the dizzying phase of "How many questions can I ask in one day?", I think I'm going to have to hone my skills a little bit. Both in factual accuracy and delivery. I guess the moral of this story is...when your child asks you a question, just Google it. Or, if you're going to make something up, maybe don't start by killing people off.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
There is never just one person. Alone. With no ties to another person. Everyone is someone's child. It might not go any further than that - sisters and brothers, friends, husbands and wives - these relationships are not foregone conclusions. But each person here today and who came before and who will come, they are all someone's children. It is a bond we all share, a connection to another human being, no matter how fragile or fractured, no matter how distant or damaged. It makes each of us a tangible part of a thing that is greater than our own lives. Humanity. Earth. Universe. Part of it. Undeniably.
These are my nieces. Is it just me, or are they the two cutest little redheads you've ever seen? Ruby Mae is one year old today, and my wish for her is that she gets to meet the coolest aunt on the planet before she's another year older. Selfish, yes. But I imagine it would work out well for both of us. I also hope that she gets lots of hugs and kisses today, and some chocolate. It is possible to love someone you've never met. This I know for a fact.
Aayla Moon and Ruby Mae, you are the sweetest nieces a girl could hope for.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Of course, in my endless quest to make myself feel better for my transgressions, I take foolish pride in the fact that she doesn't know that it's called "McDonald's", and she didn't mention fries. She also didn't get to go, so I can tell myself that I'm not a slave to my toddler's demands.
Monday, March 21, 2011
I want to write. I need to write. But my stomach is too full and my head is too full and there are too many noises bearing down on me to get inside my head. I just want to create something and to be inspired by my own words, but all I can think about is the time ticking away and what everyone else is thinking. Tick tick tick. Too many people and too little time. For me. Do I have too much or not enough? Too much? Not enough. I need to digest my food and digest my thoughts and find some answers to long-asked questions. One day at a time. One hour at a time. One conversation at a time. One word at a time. One breath at a time. Time. It’s all we have but we have no idea what to do with it.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
"My Clock is Yellow!" is the declaration that pulls me from the deepest slumber every morning. It is the first thing I hear in the morning, from my favourite voice on the planet. It is cheerful, it is exuberant, it is my daughter, announcing that the time for sleep is over and a new day is upon us.
She got a clock for her birthday. But not just any clock. The My Tot Clock. It is yellow during the day, blue at night, red for time-outs and green for "independent play time" (though we haven't experimented with that last one yet...she's 2). She's completely fascinated with it, and it has made nap and bedtime a dream. There's something about a colourful clock that reduces even the most headstrong toddlers to brainwashed automatons. The clock is blue? Better go to sleep! The clock is yellow? Party time! She loves it, we love it, it's a win-win.
As for why I chose this for the title of my blog - because it makes me smile. And everyone can use another reason to smile. At least in my opinion. It represents the child-like enthusiasm one should feel when starting a new day, and the unabashed pleasure that should be experienced over something so basic as being given a raw chunk of time to do with as we wish. Sure, you might have a job, you might have a hectic schedule, you might be a slave to "the man", but that doesn't mean that you can't be happy too.
(It's about to get really cheesy now...)
Go ahead. Smile. Own your time. Own your day. Own your life just by deciding for yourself how you want to feel about it. Buy a yellow clock if you must to remind yourself that waking up every morning is reason enough to be happy.
Also, yellow is my favourite colour. But that's not nearly as profound.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Why is it that my daughter feels the need to kick and scream and whine about doing fun things as well as the not-so-fun things? I thought that I wouldn't have to worry about my kid not wanting to hang out with me until she was a teenager.
Why does my hair always look best right before I go to bed?
Why hasn't that horrific fad of wearing your pants around your knees gone away? It's been, like, twenty years or something now. I'd love to wear leg warmers again, but that one only lasted about six months.
Why is it absolutely guaranteed that if I am completely prepared to leave the house for any kind of scheduled activity as soon as E wakes up from her nap, she won't wake up? Conversely, when I decide to use her nap time to completely immerse myself into something riveting, she wakes up early. EVERY. TIME.
Can't we figure out a way to make babies that are already toilet trained, sleep trained, and don't yell at their parents? Maybe if we kept them in longer? I loved being pregnant - I could probably have gone for another six months or so if that would make a difference. Just a suggestion.
Evolutionarily speaking, isn't it about time that dogs stopped shedding?
I appreciate your attention to these matters. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
This girl really needs to loosen up and come out of her shell a little, don't you think?