Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Very Special Thanksgiving Edition: My Words are Just as Tasty as Thanksgiving Dinner

There is a lot to be thankful for this year. I am thankful my husband has a job (no easy feat in Michigan). I am thankful for my two great babes and their periods of good health and always thankful it’s not been too serious. I am thankful for Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew. (I absolutely LOVE that show! My favorite cast member is Phil Varone. I love how he said he had a normal childhood and then during art therapy, we learn his mom made him do coke. I KNEW there was more to the story). Ah, but I digress.

I have something new to be grateful. I am thankful for the better relationship I have with my mother-in-law. For awhile it was a tumultuous relationship, to say the least. Before I became engaged, it seemed like a non-issue. But shortly after our engagement, she served her ex with his walking papers. Things got a little weird. She was in this new place of working through a divorce and having her son leave the nest. I was trying to plan a wedding under stressful circumstances and figure out married life. (Major life transitions were never my strong suite back then). So things got really ugly for awhile. When Marie was born, it got even worse because she wanted to be a part of her life, but wasn’t taking the steps to mend the relationship with Harrington and me. I could go on and on and on how horrible it was (like thinking to myself that I will NEVER get along with her), but I feel that none of that matters now. We both have worked hard to make things not only bearable, but likable. I mean this woman who was rumored to say some pretty horrible things about me now invites me and Marie to ride the train at Greenfield Village and has had made me dinner. And this other woman who was acted very reactively, has lightened up a bit and doesn’t get all hot and bothered when she does something that is a bit flakey (because it has taken me a LOOONNNGGG time to realize that it wasn’t coming from a hurtful place). Don’t get me wrong, things are not perfect as no relationship ever is. But I feel that she respects my boundaries and because of that I feel that I can let some of those self-preservation walls down.

The funny thing is, neither one of us has mentioned how things are so much better. But I guess some things can just go without saying because my mouth is too full of my delicious words. . .

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby Clothes and the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

I’m going to cut right to the chase since I am challenging myself to write this in 30 minutes or less (or until nap time ends, whichever comes first). Plainly said, I hate baby clothes with silly or stupid sayings on them. I think it speaks volumes about the parents since the poor babe who is forced to wear such monstrosities has no say. And yes, I guess I am being judgmental. Perhaps it’s my English teacher mind always analyzing the meaning of the text. Whatever. Here’s my arsenal of offenders:

I received this as a “gift” when I found out I was pregnant with my first. Maybe this is where the hate affair began. I think this is tacky since my take is that it is implying that having a child results in money. Last time I checked, the $500ish that we received for having a baby barely covered diaper/food expenses let alone doctor visits. I just think it’s annoying.

When I was expecting Marie, I was bothered by all the diva and princess shit out there. I felt like it was priming girls to be like Paris Hilton. Why put that out there? And when I was expecting Thomas, it was even worse. There were all these shirts about Mommy’s Lil’ Monster. Maybe I was extra sensitive about it because everyone said having a boy would be hard and frustrating and not at all like having a sweet, little girl (who apparently could be trained to be a diva). If parents are buying into this, then is it not only setting them up to act like that, but also accepting bad behavior later on in life? If the girl is demanding, it’s justifiable because isn’t she just a cute, lil’ diva . . . at 13 years of age? Or if that boy is a bully in school, it’s ok because he’s mommy’s lil’ monster? I know that’s making a big jump, but I saw a lot of bad behavior when I was teaching junior high, and the parents were so blasé about it. They just accepted it because well, they’re just kids. (Kids that probably wore stupid onsies because parents thought it was cool and had no awareness about the under currents of their parenting philosophy).

The first time I saw this saying on a shirt was when I was shopping for Thomas before he was born. I found this adorable collection of brown and blue onsies and on one of them said, “Property of Mom’s Forever.” Yikes! Yes, let’s make sure your son feels so loved (I mean suffocated) that he either can’t make a decision for himself because you are too much in his face or he hates you for not giving him his space. People- as- property is never a good idea. Connection, moms, not enmeshment!

This shirt is ridiculous. I hope the $12.50 was worth it because the therapy bill for the lesser of the siblings is going to need about 150 times more than that.

The Grandma onsies bother me because they are just cheesy. Seriously, if anyone is calling Grandma, it’s me because I need a break.

I know someone who received this t-shirt as a gift because the father was always telling his baby to calm down. Everyone (except me) thought it was funny because “isn’t it funny that daddy is always telling you to calm down, but your shirt tells him to calm down. Don’t you get it? Isn’t it funny and ironic?” Yes, so ironic I don’t know why Alanis Morrisett didn’t add as a lyric to her song “Isn’t That Ironic?”

The first time I saw this one, I was at story time with my daughter. I thought that was by far the tackiest shirt on someone less than 4 feet tall. Ironically enough, this mother had two boys. And furthermore, he couldn’t sit through story time or share the trains at the train table to save his life. So yes, I guess we’ll see who does get locked up.

The next few I believe need no explanation.

If you crave more stupid baby/toddler clothing stories, check out LuLu and Moxley’s Mom. She wrote two compelling commentaries, one about southern male toddlers and another involving jeans and cowboy boots. She is also writing for WEBSITE. She’s amazing and always makes me laugh.

Happy Friday!

Friday, November 13, 2009

This Chick Gets Me

OK, so I was all wondering what I should blog about. I could have totally talked about the mass amounts of stress I have been experiencing. I could have written about the physical and mental toll my sick babes have had on me since August. I could have written about my internal dilemma of the H1N1 vaccine, and after debating it, finally decided yes, only to wait two hours in line to get it. I could have written about my in-law drama. But seriously, I live that stuff all the time, and I needed a break from all that stressness swirling in my head.

So then I was going to blog about my favorite TV shows. I was going to tell you how much I love Modern Family. I was going to discuss the awesome programming that is Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew. I wanted to analyze the conflict between Gretchen and Tamara from Real Housewives of Orange County.

But then I got this in the mail:

My cousin Ashleigh sent this to me with a super sweet message inside about my blog. Isn’t she awesome!! I love this girl! There are a few years between us, but we were close growing up. We lived far away from each other, and we used to spend the night at each other’s houses. We would have a blast watching movies and listening to music. She would later be one of my bridesmaids. Our lives took different paths. She brushed off the dust of her hometown and went to live in an exciting city. And well me, you know what’s going on with me. We don’t get to see each other all that often, usually just holidays. We don’t talk all the time either, but I think about her a lot and wonder how she is. (And sometimes a bit envious that she lives in a cool city and actually gets paid to write. But in a so-proud-of-you, kind of way, not a mean-I-am-jealous-hate-you kind of way)!

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of family bonds when in the trenches of raising kids. It’s also easy to feel alone and no connection to myself when deep in the business of taking care of babies. Then I get a card in the mail and remember that I am part of a bigger tribe, and some of those tribe members totally get me. That’s the cool thing about extended family. Once that bond is there, I feel like it is there for life. We may be traveling on different paths, but I will always feel connected to her. It helps that she is one awesome person with a great taste and a wickedly funny sense of humor. I wish we lived closer so we could go get coffee or a drink sometime. Ah, geography can be a bitch!

Ashleigh, I don’t say it enough, but I love you! You are awesome. I miss you!! I am super glad that I have a cousin like you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The “L” Trifecta

I find a lot of things annoying: people who don’t use their turn signals, people who can’t text “OK,” just “K,” people who think “alot” is one word. I know those are all petty things, and I think they are annoying like Jon and Kate that just WILL NOT GO AWAY.

The “L” Trifecta is much deeper than some jerk that chooses not to signal his merging into my lane of traffic. The “L” Trifecta is a compilation of the three things that drive me so insane because they are the total opposite of what I value in life, my anti-values if you will. (They all start with the letter L, consequently).

I like to think that lying comes in shades, usually in the best interest not to hurt someone’s feelings. Example: Of course those peg-legged, acid wash jeans make your hips and butt look SMALLER! I also think there are different ways to lie, as well.

The Bold-Faced Lie – This is the lie that is the direct opposite of the truth. Example: “Hey, I heard you had a big St. Patrick’s Day party the other day. Why wasn’t I invited?” “Well, it wasn’t so much a big St. Patrick’s Day party as it was a small-ish gathering of friends. That everyone wore green. And drank green beer. So no, it definitely was not a St. Patrick’s Day party at all.”

Omission of the Truth – This is a lie because the person willingly chooses not to share pertinent information by just “accidently” leaving it out. I consider this very sneaky and therefore a lie. Example: “Well, I forgot to tell you this (even though we have seen each other very often), but we got married . . . two months ago. We didn’t tell you because we thought you’d be upset. Even though we have seen you many, many times during these eight weeks, we thought not telling you would be best (this is a double word score since this was a bold-faced lie they told themselves).

Subtle Lies/False Advertising – This is a lie in the fact that people are displaying one thing, but you know a very different thing is happening behind closed-doors. Example: The happy couple that splashes their shiny, happy faces and happy, doting comments to each other all over their social networking sites (so everyone can see) when you have inside information that there is something very much to the contrary happening when their fingers are bleeding from all their HAPPY updates. I find that these people also like to send out lengthy Annual Holiday Update Letters about how HAPPY and FABULOUS their year has been. As if. . . it were true.

I am not talking about the kind of laziness where you just can’t bring yourself to dust your house or decide to buy lunchmeat for week’s worth of lunches AND dinner. (The deli guy, who must have only been 18 years old, commented on how much lunchmeat I was buying. When I told him it was for both lunches AND dinner, he said that everyone deserves a break. Nice). There are lots of ways to be lazy than a negligent housewife.

Laziness vs. Knowledge - I hate when people make a giant mistake and the recourse is so severe, instead of accepting responsibility, they claim “no one told me.” Example: “I didn’t know hives, mucus-y bowl movements, a rash, and projective vomit indicated an allergy. No one told me.” “I didn’t know giving my child Sprite on a regular basis was not healthy. No one told me.”
It’s like this vast sea of common knowledge was not only kept secret from them, but it was not their responsibility to discover it. Just ask them; they’ll tell you they didn’t know because no one told them.

Laziness in a Relationship - This one is a personal favorite. After carrying the full weight of a relationship, I stopped making calls. The person who was dishing the load complained about the stopped phone calls in which I reminded them that the phone works both ways. The comment was met with an awkward silence, in which I would’ve liked to have added a follow-up question, “Are your fingers broken, set in tiny little casts, which would inhibit your ability to dial my phone number?” (If you are curious to read more about this subject, read this).

Laziness and the Crowd – This is the kind of laziness where a person just goes with the flow because it’s easy, not necessarily a good thing. Example: There is a situation in which the crowd is doing one thing, and it is generally accepted as wrong and hurtful to someone innocent. Because it is easier, this person chooses not to say anything because a confrontation would require more effort and that is far less important that an innocent person’s feelings (especially if it is a young, optimistic child). That is a perfect segway into the third L in the trifecta . . .

Large-Scale Narcissism
I believe everyone has some degree of narcissism. I’m not talking about accidently turning a conversation about you because you have a similar experience that legitimately contributes to the discussion. I’m talking about making huge leaps and bounds to make a connection to the subject matter so that person can talk about his/herself. Example: Comparing a child’s visit to the pediatrician to talk about his developmental delays to a story about runaway teens you watched on Dr. Phil. Example: A little boy tells his aunt that he wants a dog. The aunt says sure. Even though the mom says no, the aunt brings the dog to the little boy’s home. And that dog that had no clearance to join the family lived for fourteen years! Ouch!

But it’s more complicated than just unwarranted gifts or infuriating conversations. It’s the kind of narcissism that skews reality so badly that the person cannot comprehend the concept of personal boundaries. This self-entitlement leads to controlling others, and they only care about making themselves feel good. It seems these types of people think others are an extension of themselves (which serves babies well, but somehow not as tolerable in adults). To these people I say, “Get a clue! It’s not all about you!”

So I would rather be called a bitch than a liar, lazy, or a large-scale narcissist. What are your anti-values? (And I want to hear all the juicy examples)!