Archive for April, 2006

Give Peas a Chance

April 25, 2006

So, seeing as the last post caused, apparently, some headaches, and gave at least one person the spins, I figured that it might be time for a light photographic essay or two.

If U Ask Her What She Had 4 Breakfast
This is What She’d Say…

Starfish and coffee; maple syrup and jam…


…Butterscotch clouds, tangerine…

And a side order of ham.

Okay, so that last one was a banana. But you can trust me that the one before it really was butterscotch cloud infused with zest of tangerine. Organic, of course. The starfish was fresh-water farmed. And the coffee? Decaf.

That’s how we do things Chez Bad Mother.

(I’d wanted to do some sort of literary commentary here, pairing up WonderBaby’s foods with Great Works of Literature – War and Peas! Banana Karenina! – but it seemed forced. Prince lyrics, however, can never be forced.)

Blockhead

These blocks are currently WonderBaby’s very favorite thing in the world. If she catches the slightest glimpse of them, or even hears the clack of wood block on wood block as Mommy’s foot knocks by them (because, yes, I am lax, lax, with the tidying), she will hoot and whoot until she is within grasping distance. Preferably sitting up, with the box at hand to pull the blocks out of, but propped up on elbows on tummy will sometimes do. And she will sit and play with them for loooong stretches of minutes. And Mommy sits on the floor and plays with her for a while and then brings laptop and coffee to the floor and the two ladies sit quietly together, occupied with their letters. And it is good.

But I’ve recently noticed that some of the blocks – which have letters, numbers, and simple pictures stamped into them – are a bit odd. The numbers and letters are straightforward enough, but some of the images, well…

Okay, so that creature in the middle of the left column, that’s some kind of stylized horse, right? That’s my guess, but I’m not sure. The creature on the bottom right block is what, though? Whiskers but no ears; legs and a stubby tail. The head is seal-like, but the rest of it?

And the one on the uppermost right? A factory, maybe? Workhouse for children with smokestack? Or is it a rocket?

The uppermost left block is, the Husband says, a gondola. Which strikes me as an odd subject for a picture that is stamped on a child’s wooden toy block. But then I thought that it was a bunny with a spear through its head, sitting on a hunk of mouldy cheese, so what do I know?

I don’t even have words, funny or otherwise, for the picture on the block that is middle of the righthand column.

And the bottom left image is clearly a bottle of Ambien or Xanax.

So what, I ask you, is a child (or a parent, for that matter) supposed to make of these? What will I tell WonderBaby when she is old enough to ask what the pictures are? That’s a picture of the bottle of little pills that help Mommy sleep, sweetie…

I suppose that the beauty of these blocks as playthings is that they will encourage her to make up words and to invent explanations for the pictures. A rockethouse! A kittyhorse! A jar of magical beans!

But until she is old enough to explain these pictures to me, I’ll have to turn to you. Please, anyone, WTF are they?

Bad Mother Math

‘Cause sequels are… New and Improved!**

April 24, 2006

**There have been a few late-breaking amendments and tweaks to this post. These were not intended to be late, but when one hits Publish prematurely and then is denied publishing for hours and hours and hours by Blogger after making the desired changes… well, that’s how it happens. So this is the minorly amended un-sequel that replaces the sequel that never was…

Note that this is likely not worth re-reading unless a) you are addicted to all things Bad Mother, and/or b) you have way too much time on your hands.


So I had big plans for the sequel to Bland Ambition Part I, big plans. There were so many Big and Important Thoughts swirling around in my bulbous head that one post simply could not contain them. I needed two posts! Three! I would discuss feminism, all waves; the force of liberal capitalist ideals of success and the construction of the bourgeois woman; philosophy and sex and the impossibility of the Mother-Philosopher; and, finally, the meaning of happiness, traced back to the ancient Greek understanding of eudaimonia and all the way back ’round again to the post-modern hedonism of contemporary Life in America Including Canada. And these would all be addressed within the context of my personal struggles as a Woman in the 21st Century. It was going to be epic, I tell you. Epic.

Then I thought, who the fuck cares?

Not me.

Really.

I was inspired and provoked last week by all of the passionate and insightful discussions of feminism, masculism and other isms relevant to mothers and fathers. And I said my piece about my own struggle with the exigencies of feminism and the politics of being a female whatever – student, teacher, partner, parent, professional – in this day and age. But although I had – have – much more to say on these topics (see above for some indication of the many mind-numbing directions I was going to fly off into), I’ve decided to give it a rest. For now. In part because, as I forged ahead with my magnum blog opus, I started to bore myself. You know that it’s time to stop writing whatever it is that you’re writing when a little voice inside your head starts whispering who fucking cares who fucking cares who fucking cares and you start talking back and you say, well, not me, that’s for sure. Blah blah blah big words blah blah oh my struggle blah Big Thought blah. Only solution: log out now. Go directly to Writer Jail: do not Save as Draft, do not Publish Post, do not collect 200 comments (ha).

But also because it began to seem to me that I didn’t have much else to offer on this topic, at this time. (Read: any and all Big Ideas bandied about by me during the above-described thinking and writing process may be trotted out at a later date under similar or entirely different pretenses.) In the first place, I began to feel uncomfortable with my stance, my voice, as these took shape: I was writing, am writing, as an extraordinarily privileged woman. White, relatively affluent, educated, very happily married – I have almost every advantage imaginable, save, perhaps a penis (well, one that is attached to my body. I have borrowing privileges on a pretty good model that is always ready to hand, no pun intended.) And I’m writing to an audience of similarly privileged peers: you’re not all white, you have varying levels of education and material wealth and differing levels of satisfaction with your relationships (and you may, in fact, actually have penises attached to your bodies) but you are all, dare I say it, privileged. You, we, all have voices – forceful, articulate voices – and you, we, know how to make those voices heard. So I asked myself: is poring over my privileged challenges (challenges that are afforded only by privilege, like, I was shamed for not going to Cambridge when I had the opportunity, OMFG) and using my voice to worry over and dissect those challenges really advancing or helping the cause? I don’t want to suggest that my quote-unquote problems are completely insignificant – they are, it might be said, extreme cases that prove the insufficiency of feminist gains over the last half century (privileged white women still struggle, too!) – but really? Boo fucking hoo. There are more important stories that need to be told; more important work that needs to be done.

And there is still much, much work that needs to be done; as Mrs Fortune pointed out last week, the truth about the world that our daughters will inhabit as women is that it is one in which they cannot do anything that they want. But, it must be said, the daughters of women like me (and probably you, too) will probably be able to do almost anything that they want – they’ll have many more opporunities, for example, than most, if not all, underprivileged boys. Our world is not a just world, but injustice crosses the boundaries of sex. So, my wish for my daughter? That she grow up to wring her hands over – and do battle with – injustice from the sort of privileged position that her mother occupies now. It’s not an unrealistic wish. She’ll probably even outdo me on the privilege. And for that, I should be profoundly grateful.

There was a second thing… Oh, yeah… (gawd I ramble)…

In the second place, it was becoming apparent, as I sorted out my many heavy thoughts and stories, that not all of these thoughts and stories – perhaps none of these – illuminated or were illuminated by the Greater Question Concerning Feminism in the 21st Century, Whatever That Question May Be. Maybe I’m wrong about this. Now that I think about it, I probably am wrong about this, or at least a certain breed of Women’s Studies major would tell me that I am: I am a woman, and everything that I do in this male-dominated, sex-oriented world is, for better or for worse, defined, determined and circumscribed by the fact of my sex. But doesn’t that just drain so much life out of who I am and what I have to say? Even if my ideas, my stories, can only be fully understood within the context of my femaleness or femininity, that doesn’t mean that they are best understood, or appreciated, that way.

I complained, in the prequel to the sequel that will never be, that my actions, my choices, as a young woman were being made political by otherwise well-meaning feminists. I suggested that, even though I would always remain aware of the restictions imposed upon me by my sex, I wanted the freedom to think and act and speak and choose as a person, that I wanted to live my life without the oppressive shadow of politics. I suggested that I did not want to feel pressure to ensure that my actions and choices always accorded with someone else’s idea of feminism, that I did not want to have to constantly ask myself what a ‘good’ feminist would do, that I wanted to define my own feminism through my own, happy life. And that, however difficult or perhaps even utopian this might be, I wanted – want – this for my daughter as well. It only belatedly occured to me that by attempting to frame and understand my stories within the context of feminism I was, in fact, imposing politics upon those stories myself. This is not to say that to do such a thing is wrong – it may be, in fact, that doing so is necessary, or at least important, to a healthy understanding of myself as a certain kind of woman living in this age. It’s to say that this is not what want, at least not right now. I want to explore these stories to understand more about myself as a person – one who is, inescapably, a woman, but first a person, a thinking, loving human being whose ideas and actions have force as the ideas and actions of a human being and not ‘just’ as those of a woman. And to someday share these stories with my daughter, who I hope will understand me as both a person and a woman, and who I hope, fervently hope, will always celebrate herself as both a person and a woman.

And as an inspiration to milliners everywhere. Isabella Blow, watch your back.

Tomorrow? Back to what really matters. Tune in for Visualizing Whirled Peas: Revolution through Baby Gastronomy.

WonderBaby starts her own Peas Movement. Diapers and jumbo wipes are on hand.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

April 21, 2006

Bland Ambition II: Ma’ambition is coming shortly. But the real world continues to spin, and as it does it kicks up a lot of note-worthy dust, and I must keep up with my note-keeping.

1.) MC Hammer has a blog. And? It is as much a dad-blog as any of our blogs are mom/mommy/dad/daddy blogs. Many, many pictures of his adorable little boy, who apparently had a difficult time of it in his early weeks, and who has just recently had another scare. I defy you to not tear up; if you do not tear up, or at least swallow hard, at the image of his sweet little boy in a hospital bed you are mean and I don’t like you. I went over expecting to laugh at the bizarrocity of it all – it’s Hamma! What could he possibly blog about? – but when I got to his baby photos I got all verklempt. Sucka.

Motherhood has clearly wussified me beyond all recognition. See me coming at you with the big words? Want to baton-smack me in my oh-so-sarcastic knees? Flash a baby at me. Tell me that you’re a parent, and that you really love your kids. You’ll stop me dead in my tracks. I will not make fun of you, and I will smack anyone who does.*

It is now my mission to somehow lure Hammer over to my blog to comment. If I can get MC Hammer to comment on my blog I will be crowned the Queen of Dubious Cool and even the Lilliputians won’t be able to get me down.

*This only applies to human beings and other sentient creatures of the Planet Earth, and also, sometimes, characters of fiction. This does not apply to robots, cyborgs or uncuddly aliens from the Planet Scientology, which means that, yes, I will make fun of Tom Cruise, but not Katie Holmes, who is, obviously, an abductee and has had her cerebral cortex vacuumed, probably through an anal probe, but also human and, I hope, sentient. And the ‘really love your kids’ clause, I don’t need to tell you, also exempts Kevin Federline, who I also reserve the right to make fun of. And David Hasselhoff, because there’s also a creepy clause, and a don’t-smack-your-wife clause.

NOOOOO! Scientologists killed Biccy! Oh, the humanity…!

2) This amazing fellow, Craig Kielburger, is/was one of my students. He has just won the 2006 World Children’s Prize, which is also known as the Children’s Nobel Prize (he has, not incidentally, also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times), for his longtime work – begun when he was, wait for it, 12 years old! – to free children from poverty and exploitation.*

I’m not taking any credit – he began his amazing journey long before he met me – but I do take special pride in knowing him, and in having contributed in some small way to his education. He was, and is, a keen and passionate student of political philosophy, and we’ve had many a lively conversation about whether the great philosophers really believed that the world could be made a better place. He taught me, the jaded, skeptical philosophy scholar, that it is really sometimes worth putting philosophy into action.

So join me in a big standing O for Craig! (Thunderous applause! Proud, proud teacher beams madly and wipes a stray tear!)

Seriously, this is the first time that I’ve gone all misty-eyed with pride about a student’s accomplishments. But! He’s changing the world! Helping children! (See what I said above about getting all mushy about anything to do with children.) Give him a hand!

*If you’re interested in learning more about his organization, or, better, supporting it, check it out here (or, follow the link in the sidebar). Oh, and this one, too. You could also buy his book (which – personal plug – I contributed some research to), which I highly recommend. As does Oprah, and Richard Gere, but you like me more, don’t you, so why don’t you take my word on this?

3) If you’re looking to help Save Children in other ways, don’t forget to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association and Muscular Dystrophy Canada (also linked in sidebar). All of us who love Tanner – who I blogged about here (and if you haven’t read this, go read it, not because I want you to read me, which I do, but because I want you to feel this cause. So that you’ll help) – are still wishing and praying and making sacrifices to the gods for any little ray of hope in the struggle against Bad Diseases that Kill Children, Especially This One Because It is the One that is Hurting Tanner. Who Bad Mother loves very much, so she’d be very much obliged if you’d support, if only by talking it up.

(And Tanner? Here’s another picture of your baby cousin to hold you until we get there! End of May!)

Playgrounds just aren’t fun without Big Cool Cousins to play with…

4) Proof positive that memes really do serve the higher purpose of keeping us all informed: Urban_Mommy (who just had her baby, the Boy Wonder, um, five and half weeks ago, and is already blogging again. I, on the other hand, at five weeks post-partum, was huddled on the corner of my sofa, clutching the wee WonderBaby, sobbing uncontrollably) took up my tag, posted it, and lo if I didn’t roll back in my seat, gobsmacked, at learning new things about her. (Urban_Mommy, if you didn’t already know this, is a VIP in my/WonderBaby’s offline world, which is to say, I should know this shit.) Three of her six ‘weird things’ were things that – cannot believe this – I did not know. Can you guess what they are?

And I just have to add this: She can write backwards; I can read backwards. This used to drive my parents crazy on road-trips, because I would sit in the back seat and read every sign backwards, out loud. ‘gniK regruB!’ ‘maerc eci!’ (I was hungry) ‘ckor gnillaf rof chtaw!’ Drove them nuts. (Not as nuts as my random shrill shrieking did, but still.) So, UM? I now wish all the more that we’d gone to high school together. The note-exchanging would have been brilliant, and impenetrable if intercepted.

(Oh, also? I also do the talking to myself. MAD talking to myself. I note this only because the story behind the Bad Ladies moniker is a very embarassing talking-aloud-to-myself-in-public story that I will one day share with you, and, hell, I love to link back to old posts so I’m putting up a road marker here.)

5) I’m going to Blogher. Yesterday’s post, and the comments, and Kristen’s post on sacrificial parenting convinced me that it is just fine if I take a weekend to myself and go to a conference that is non-academic. It doesn’t make me a lesser mother, and it doesn’t make me a lesser scholar.

But, full disclosure: it was Kristen’s promise, in yesterday’s comments, of the ‘I (Heart) Bulbous-headed Lilliputians’ t-shirt that really did it. Kristen, I want that t-shirt. And you have to wear one, too.

WHO’S REALLY BLOGGING HERE?

Um, how does one spell ‘Lilliputian’…?

My Blogroll

April 20, 2006

My dusty old blogroll, which I am forever neglecting to update. If you’d like to see your blog on this list, leave me a comment here and I’ll add it in! Note that it may take me some weeks to add your URL, depending upon how recently I’ve updated and whether or not I am suffering from PMS or some other pernicious hormone cocktail…

I don’t insist upon quid pro quo (quid pro blogroll?), but reciprocation is, of course, much appreciated.

  • BlogNetLife – Parenting – Cooool….
  • Adventures in Stepford
  • Anne Nahm
  • Baby In The City
  • The Blogfathers
  • Blog Whore
  • BridgerMama
  • Bunmaster
  • Cheeky Lotus
  • Chichimama
  • Chicky Chicky Baby
  • CrankMama
  • Crib Ceiling
  • Crouton Boy
  • DadGoneMad
  • Dad2Twins
  • Don’t Gel Yet (Cynthia)
  • Ewe Are Here
  • The Fashionable Housewife
  • Flexible Parenting
  • Funky Fat Girl
  • Gingajoy
  • Girl’s Gone Child
  • Glennia
  • Gooby Baby
  • Queen Bad Mama
  • Grim Reality Girl
  • He Makes Me Smile
  • Horkin Ramblings
  • Homesick Home
  • I Obsess
  • Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual
  • Issa’s World
  • Izzy
  • Jennster!
  • Jezewhiz
  • Karen Shanley
  • Kristi’s Mess
  • Life of ‘Pie
  • Life, The Ongoing Education (Lara)
  • Linkateria
  • Lion and Magic Boy
  • Madame Meow
  • Mama Tulip
  • Melanie in Orygun
  • Moxie
  • Mommybloggers
  • Mommy Needs a Martini
  • A Mommy Story
  • MotherBumper
  • MotherGooseMouse
  • Nikki
  • MUBAR
  • Martinis For Milk
  • Metro Mama
  • Mom-101
  • Mom-o-matic
  • Motherhood Uncensored
  • Mrs Fortune and her Cookie
  • Much More Than A Mom
  • Mulligan Years
  • My Momtra
  • Mystic Spiral Studio (That Puppet Lady)
  • Nine Pound Dictator
  • Oh, The Joys!
  • One Plus Two
  • Penelope and Bumblebee
  • PunditMom
  • Ravin Picture Maven
  • Red Dragons Angel
  • Redneck Mommy
  • Red Stapler
  • http://www.temporarilyme.blogspot.com
  • Something Baby Blue
  • Sunshine Scribe
  • SuperMommy
  • Sweet Juniper!
  • Sweetney
  • Three Times Three
  • Toddled Dredge
  • Troll Baby
  • White Trash Mom
  • WhyMommy
  • WordGirl
  • Bland Ambition, Part I

    April 20, 2006
    WARNING: another long, confused, confessional ramble ahead. It is a Classic Bad Mother rumination complete with big, possibly made-up, words and gratuitous baby photos. Provoked, variously, by mom101’s forceful statement on feminism, GGC’s forceful statement on masculism, Sweet Juniper’s sweet love story, and Irina Derevko’s claim, during last night’s episode of Alias, that one cannot be both a successful spy and a successful mother. (Oh, God, no, say it isn’t true! My one clear ambition, shattered!) Oh, and Blogher decision-making. Proceed with caution.
    GRATUITOUS BABY PHOTO


    When I was nearing the end of my undergraduate degree, I met with one of my professors to discuss the decisions that I would be making about graduate school. The specific issue under discussion that day was a scholarship to Cambridge University. I told my professor, a woman, that I was not sure that I would seriously consider going overseas to Cambridge. I had just gotten married, and had my husband’s future to consider as well as my own. He had just made the frightening leap from a soul-destroying career in business to the slightly less soul-destroying world of film and television, and was just beginning to make things work for himself in the Canadian film industry. Leaving Canada – or rather, relocating ourselves to any place where cameras and klieg lights are not regular features of the landscape – would set him back considerably. He would likely become an unemployed academic widower, and I did not want that.

    What I didn’t say to her that day, couldn’t say to her that day, was that I simply didn’t want a doctoral degree from Cambridge badly enough to risk compromising my husband’s livelihood and/or happiness. He had made it clear that he would happily go wherever I wanted to go. But if I wasn’t 110% committed to going (and I wasn’t; far from it) was it really fair to ask him to give up what he had been working so hard for so that I could dapple in academia and decide if it was what really made me happy?

    But I didn’t say this to Ms. Professor. I didn’t want to reveal any ambivalence about what everyone was insisting would be an academically star-blazing future. I said: ‘Going to Cambridge would be very challenging for my husband.’

    Oh, the scorn that was heaped upon me.

    That professor – who I did and still do have enormous respect for as an academic – launched into a passionate speech about the tyranny of men over women and the institutionalization of this tyranny in marriage and the responsibility of young women like myself to demand more from the world and to not let ourselves be tyrannized by men and to rage, rage against any constraints that men might impose upon us. And then she said: ‘I thought more of you. I am very, very disappointed that you would let your husband hold you back.’

    Ouch. I thinked that I actually recoiled in my seat. I know that I turned beet-red, shamed.

    But that femino-defensive ass-kicking didn’t sway me. I didn’t go to Cambridge. Nor did I go to any other World Famous Aren’t We Special University that was located off the my-marital-happiness track. I opted for a slightly-less-famous-but-respected-in-my-field graduate program, in a department that was home to a number of renowned political philosophers that I yearned to study with, in a big city with a thriving film industry.

    And my husband and I have been very, very happy here, both of us. I loved the program, and my teachers, and now they let me teach here. And Husband’s career has thrived here and he really enjoys himself. We’re happy as individuals, we’re happy as a couple, and, now, since the arrival of WonderBaby, we’re happy as a family. And that’s what matters. Right?

    My old professor, when I see her at conferences, still shakes her head at me over the fact that I opted to not go the World Famous U route. As does anybody who is not in my field, including my mother, who, although she respects and undertands my decisions, still wishes that she could march around wearing a ‘My Kid Went to Harvard’ t-shirt (because the ‘My Kid Studied With Thomas Pangle’ t-shirt means nothing to anybody who doesn’t follow political philosophy or obsess over Straussian conspiracy theories.) And if I ever say that my husband’s interests were a factor in those decisions, I can usually expect praise or scorn about my flouting of feminist principles, depending upon whether the listener hates or loves feminism.

    I hate both of these reactions. I hate them because they imply that my decisions were political. Maybe they were, in the broader scheme of things: I am, end of the day, just one more woman who may have sacrificed somebody’s definition of success in order to keep a man happy. But I was also keeping me happy, and, as it happens, my husband’s happiness is bound up in my own and mine in his. I don’t think that I compromise my sex, nor my feminist bona fides, by admitting that.

    And I hate those reactions because they raise questions that I don’t like: am I disgrace to my sex for factoring my husband’s happiness so heavily into my decision-making? Am I a disgrace to feminism? I know that, for me at least, the answers to those questions are no, and no. But I hate that the questions are even there, lurking in the background. And I hate that it is even open to question whether considerations concerning my husband’s happiness are relevant to my own, never mind whether such considerations amount to a sort of oppression.

    I don’t blame feminism for this; quite the contrary. I’m grateful that I live in a society in which I have choices, in which my happiness and fulfilment counts as much as my husband’s. That women are in a position to debate questions concerning the ways and means to their happiness is tremendously important; that I am discomfited by such questions does not mean that they should not be asked.

    But it remains that I am uncomfortable. And it remains that I am sometimes afraid to admit to my choices, let alone to celebrate them. And – here’s the rub – in doing so, I think, I back myself into the very corner that I rail against. Yesterday I had a meeting with The Person Who Is Guiding My Career (a man!) to discuss what I would teach next year, and he wondered aloud about finding me a job that would better the arc of my career trajectory. Tenure-track. Well-paid. I hemmed and hawed and hedged. I said, for the second time in my life, this time as I bounced WonderBaby on my lap: ‘The Husband’s career limits my options.’

    No hellfire and brimstone this time. TPWIGMC just nodded. But I could tell that he was thinking that such limitations might cost me a really successful career.

    I don’t have a point to make here about the difference between a man’s and a woman’s reactions to a woman stating that her husband’s interests need to be considered in any career choice that she might make; I don’t think that there’s a point worth making. What I’m interested in is the truth, semi-truth or falsity of my statement and the implications of this for my discomfort around possible challenges to my choices. The statement was true, as it was the first time that I said it. But what is also true – but what remained unsaid – is the fact that I’m ambivalent about my professional future. I might – gasp – lack ambition.

    I’m not 100% certain that I want to spend the rest of my life teaching, however much I might enjoy it. And now that WonderBaby is here, I’m not sure that I want to do much of anything at all beyond raising her (and writing. But just about WonderBaby? This is a whole other post.) But I can’t bring myself to fully admit that, let alone celebrate it. So I hide behind certain exigencies of the household and my desire to secure my husband’s happiness. All to avoid being identified as an Unambitious Woman, and so as some powerless throwback to a darker, pre-feminist time. The irony being – you’ve caught this already, haven’t you? – that in so hiding I have invited that identity anyway.

    Bad Mother, meet Traditionalist Rock. And over here, to your left, Feminist Hard Place.

    What I want to know is, why can’t I wholeheartedly claim my version of that identity – the fem-friendly, empowered mother who exercise her choice to devote her emotional, creative and intellectual energies to her family. Why am I still sheepish about it? Writing in this space is bringing me closer to understanding, and embracing. But I have miles to go, I think.

    Tomorrow, or whenever WonderBaby decides to nap: Bland Ambition, Part II. Happiness as a worthy ambition, whether mothers can be philosophers, taking my husband’s name, and – having just seen Kristen’s post on sacrificial motherhood – whether I am a sacrificial mother. In 350 words or less!

    …love’s function is to fabricate unknownness…

    Or: Look! Over there! Bulbous-headed Lilliputians!

    Tuesday Rambling, and a WonderBaby Hatstravaganza!

    April 18, 2006

    So, I was deliberating between two Big Heavy Posts for today – hmm… shall I pontificate on Religion and Childrearing, or deliver My Big Thoughts on Judith Warner’s Perfect Madness? – when, during my early morning fave blog troll, I came across Kristen’s bladder-stimulating spoof of my writing:

    OK. Go on. Have a look. But come right back! I have pictures!

    Don’tcha all be slammin’ on my ma, yo. She be teaching me MAD words. Check it:

    Jack and Jill ascended the acclivity
    To retrieve a brazier of the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain and is the major constituent of all living matter.
    Jack toppled bottomward
    And fractured his cranium
    And Jill came plummeting post-hence.

    Back now? Good. So, as I was saying, I was going to devote today’s post to the further enlightenment of the blogosphere, until I realized that a) I couldn’t possibly do so without coming off as a spoof of myself, b) to do so would risk revealing to new readers that I am not as smart as Kristen might think I am, and c) the coffee that I made this morning is CRAP and undrinkable and I cannot spin the big words unless I am caffeinated.

    So what y’all get instead? Random nonsense! And hats!

    What Bad Mother has been thinking about today:

    1) Kevin Federline. Apparently, the media is to blame for his foray into, um, musical performance. ‘Cause, really, what other choice did he have? What kind of role model to his children – the new one and the old ones that were left with the (pregnant at the time) wife he abandoned – would he be if he went and got a real job instead of whoring off of his baby-dropping celebrity wife?

    Why do I waste brain cells on this sort of thing? Because I have an obsessive interest in the decline of Western Civilization. Whether it’s K-Fed (‘but you can call me daddy’ ew ew ew), or David Hasselhoff (yes, I have a grim fascination with David Hassehoff. I just don’t understand. K-fed, sadly, I understand: untold numbers of greasy slacker losers look at him and think Yes, DUDE and similar numbers of girls with low self-esteem think he’s hot. So, sad, but, sadly, understandable. David Hasselhoff? Just do not get it. Just don’t. Have you seen his work? Yeah, I know, Baywatch was the Miami Vice of the nineties and so apparently there’s some pop cultural import there, tho’ I don’t see it, and apparently it can be read as a family ensemble in the tradition of the Waltons so maybe it’s just good wholesome fun. But this? Please), or the fact that somebody, somewhere, thinks that Sharon Stone is still a sex symbol – it’s all evidence that we’re all going to hell in a cultural handbasket. And I’m taking notes.

    2) What to name WonderBaby’s new playmate. She looks pretty gothy and I-see-dead-peopleish, which is why I like her, and so I thought about naming her Siouxsie. Or maybe Miss Jessel, from The Turn of the Screw… Any suggestions?

    3) How and why it is that I am turning into a beer pig. I used to be the martiniest girl around (shaken, so dry as to be parched, with olive), when I wasn’t appreciating the finer Bordeaux varietals, preferably those with philosophic provenance. Which is to say, liquor snob. But now that one martini gets me sloppy drunk and gives me a Gulliverian hangover (those bulbous-headed Lilliputians that Kristen had me imagining? Hangover midgets banging on my head. In fact, that whole paragraph was a description of my martini hangover) and wine can compromise milk supply. But beer… ah, beer. Sweet, dark nectar of the gods. Can increase milk supply, and one pint glass of a rich creamy dark can last an hour or more and so hangover risk is minimal. And I’ve developed a taste for it. Guinness, Kilkenny, Belgian Lambecs brewed by Trappist monks… yum. Love it. But am struggling with transformation of my drinker identity: beer is for frat boys, pool players and aficionados of team sports, is it not? And I am none of these. I am a lactating mother. I am drinking a Fuller’s London Porter right now. Bring on the beer!

    4) Whether or not to go to Blogher. I would love to, I really would – learn more about this writing medium that I have become addicted to! Meet cool, literate, funny moms! Weekend vacation! – and Husband is saying go for it, but… still ambivalent. I’m new at this, for one, so it seems ambitious. Also? I’m not very good at conferences where I don’t deliver a paper (if you plug ‘Machiavelli’ into the subject search here, you’ll find HBM’s alter academic ego), thereby establishing my membership in The Group and so minimizing imposter syndrome.) I’ve been known to hug the odd corner with tongue in throat when in rooms with people that I don’t know (OK, I’m exaggerating. I know how work a room. But my inner shy girl hugs the corners and then obsesses about what people in the room thought of me.) And? I won’t be attending an academic conference this year, and I already have issues about eschewing academic writing in favour of blogging, so to head off to a blogging conference while skipping APSA (which I swore swore swore that I would attend, even if I didn’t present a paper) seems irresponsible. And, perhaps, like a detour that will take me an even greater distance from the work that I ‘should’ be doing. But! So tempting…

    5) How many hats a baby should have. We’re at about 14 right now. But people, she’s bald. OK, fuzzy. Pale, yellow Easter chick fuzz. So we rock the hats.

    Don’tcha be funnin’ at my head, yo. Gots me some BRAINS.

    Bad Mother auf Naxos

    April 16, 2006

    So, some of you, it seems, would like to hear more about the soap operatic drama that was the Incident in Greece.

    But first!

    GRATUITOUS BABY PHOTO


    Back to the story. It’s not a story that I particularly enjoy telling. For one, it’s not the most pleasant thing to re-live. For another, it tends to provoke one of two reactions: that it can’t possibly be true (var., that I’ve undoubtedly exaggerated the story), or that it had to have been brought about by my own actions. So I tend to begin from a defensive position in relating the story, which makes me uncomfortable.

    But my defensiveness is not just indignation at being doubted. I’m defensive about the story because the suggestions that the story might be exaggerated, or that it was somehow my fault that the incident occured, touch a nerve. Because I’ve asked myself those same questions over and over since it happened. From the moment I got on the plane out of Athens I’ve been asking myself whether what happened really happened, and whether I understood correctly what happened.

    The rough details, as outlined in the comment that I appended to that post:

    It’s really not all that interesting – I wasn’t snatched off the street or anything. It was just the result of some bad decisions. I’d met Creepy Creepopolous on a flight to Europe from Vancouver – tho’ he didn’t seem remotely creepy and anyway, I thought he was *gay,* I really did – and we hung out in Amsterdam for a while and then kept in touch over the following year. When I ended up between paying gigs the next summer, he said that he could get me a job on Naxos (where his family lived and ran a number of businesses, incuding the island radio station). When I got there, there was no job, my passport was taken from me and locked away in the same room as the telephone, and I acquired a thuggy Greek ‘bodyguard’ who got between me and any and all English-speaking persons. Creepy declared his love and spent days insisting that I would really be happy living on Naxos rather than in Barcelona and that I just needed to give it a chance and refused to let me a) contact anybody, and b) leave. The lock-picking, window-leaping escape I noted in the post; I’ll save the descriptives for another day. Nothing happened to Creepy that I know of: the Greek authorities weren’t interested in anything other than ensuring that a ‘tourist’ be able to get off the island; Interpol couldn’t really do anything without the co-operation of the Greeks. I was told that it was almost certainly a sex-trade slavery thing, but I really think that Creepy was just that – creepy. And lonely.

    The facts are what they are – the false pretenses concerning the job (which were admitted to shortly after I arrived), the withholding of the passport and travellers checks and any and all means of communication with the off-island world, the bodyguard, etc. – and they all add up to BAD. I absolutely was held against my will. But it seems so fantastic and weird and unlikely that anytime I think of the story, I have to go through the facts like a checklist, just to make sure that it really happened the way that I thought it did.

    The second issue – was it somehow my fault? – is trickier. This is, I’m told, a totally normal response to certain kinds of trauma. But still: I was barely 20 years old, trotting alone around Europe, heading off to the Greek islands for a phantom job on the word of some guy that I barely knew. (One note in my defence – I let everyone know where I was going and, on the advice of my parents, who were not at all keen on my adventures, I checked in at the Canadian consulate in Athens when I arrived to inform them that I was there. These actions later proved crucial.) But, again, I might have exercised more prudence. I know that I didn’t ‘ask for it,’ but didn’t I expose myself to the risk?

    And. I suggested in my comments to the post that if Creepy really was infatuated with me in the creepiest way, I had no idea. But this is another thing that I have interrogated and re-interrogated over the years. Did I know? ‘Cause if I did, wasn’t it irresponsible of me to treat that so lightly? I’ve said that I thought that he was gay, and this is true: when we met – well before the age of the metrosexual – he was all ‘girl, I love your clothes!’ and ‘is that a BCBG skirt?’ and full of stories about how he had been working in a hair salon on Robson Street in Vancouver and full of compliments about the style of my hair (which, yes, still had the bangs, but this was the early nineties, people, so sue me.) No straight male of my acquaintance at that time could tell BCBG from GWG, nor would they ever say anything more about my hair than ‘grr, argh, pretty:’ noting that the BCBG skirt was really an Azzedine Alaia knock-off and that my hair had razored layers would have been unthinkable. So, I identified him as Safe Male. No Sexual Threat was virtually stamped across his forehead.

    But, but… I knew that he was a big fan of mine and I liked that. His letters were always full of praise for how smart and cool and funny I was. I liked that because, hell, who wouldn’t, but I also liked that because I was really quite miserable at the time. I was infatuated with a beautiful Catalan boy who I knew, knew, was chronically unfaithful, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to end that relationship for once and for all. So, so banal, in retrospect, but at the time, so, so painful: there were countless lamentations – written and sobbed – of ‘why why why can’t he love only me?’ I knew that I should pack it in and move back to Canada and go back to school but I just couldn’t do it: my parents had just divorced and I was confused about what I wanted to do with my life and the only things defining me at that moment in time were my (crap crappy angsty) writing and that god-forsaken relationship (which was fueling the crap crappy writing. If Simone de Beauvoir could be all existential about love, then so could I.) So when this other person, Creepy-who-was-not-yet-creepy, this person who thought that I was fan-fucking-tastic and super-cool and just the smartest girl ever offered me an out – come to Greece! work on an island! make new friends! – I thought, yes. (And also? I’ll show that cheating lying boyfriend. Eat. my. dust.)

    So I went. And when Creepy declared his love – confessing that he regularly laid roses on the westward point of the Temple that was said to be the place where Ariadne had, according to local mythology, committed suicide over the faithlessness of Theseus, and that he had placed them there, facing Spain, for me (ew, ew) – my thoughts were, in this exact order, complete with curses: you’re fucking kidding me; ew, lame; seriously?; ew, ew, ew. And then: well, at least someone fucking loves me. And finally: figures that it would be a psycho freak. (He’d already started being weird: I didn’t have the bodyguard yet, but he had already taken my passport, etc, and had locked the phone away. So we skipped the whole, um, that’s sweet, but I’m just not into you that way thing and went straight to are you fucking serious? and that’s when things got bad.)

    Years later, I saw Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos at the Met, and when Zerbinetta performed her coloratura about how the only way to get over a man is to fall in love with another, I shuddered. I did go to Greece to get over Catalan Boy; did some inner part of me seek out being adored, to make that process easier? And if it did, did that put me at fault, in part, for the incident?

    So it is that the whole thing came to represent a whole host of insecurities and issues that I wish I’d never had. Had I been a more together, self-assured girl, I used to tell myself, I would never have gone to Greece. Nor, not incidentally, would I have languished in that miserable relationship in Spain and tormented myself about perceived deficiencies in my lovability. And so it is that I don’t much like talking about it, and that I have never considered ‘writing’ about it in anything other than a personal journal. (Because, too, hello? Banal. The torments of romantic youth leading to High Drama? Been done.)

    My prevailing thoughts about the whole thing now tend, not surprisingly, to the maternal. How do I spare my daughter from the insecurities that sometimes lead women to do silly things? Can I spare my daughter from those insecurities? My parents raised me well, and loved me well. A surplus of love throughout my life to that point was not enough to provided me with a bullet-proof self-esteem. I know, I know – no self-esteem is bullet-proof, nor should it be. Humility, fragility and vulnerability are necessary parts of a good person, and I want my daughter to be that. But I want to protect her, too, and provide her with the means to protect herself: there’s a part of me that wants to ensure that she has the toughest outer shell, so that she’ll never get her heart broken, get hurt, or – god forbid – feel unloved or unloveable. Again, however, I know that that’s not possible, nor really desirable.

    So that, I suppose, will be the test of my motherhood, and, of course, of Husband’s fatherhood: providing all the love and nurture that are necessary to build a resilient shell; to create every opportunity for our daughter to be both soft and strong (gah, tissue commercial cueing up here…), for her to be both fully secure in love and yet open to the storm that love can be.

    And to keep her off Naxos.

    Love and be loved well, WonderBaby.

    And kick the asses of all others.

    Taggy Taggerson and The Tagbots

    April 14, 2006

    Tagged, by Mrs. Chicky. Everyone else is doing it, right? (But if everyone else was jumping off of a bridge, sweetie…?) Must conform!

    So. Six sorta weird, but completely random and mostly uninteresting things about me:

    1) I was often told, when I was young, that I looked like Dana Plato. You know, that chick from Diff’rent Strokes who ended up a gun-toting drug addict? And died? That one. The resemblance stopped being interesting ‘round about the time she robbed the video store at gunpoint. But I hung onto those bangs for a long time.

    2) I make up voices for my cats and have long, intense conversations with them about philosophy, rap music and reality TV shows, in which I use my own voice and then articulate their responses in the made-up voices. This has trailed off somewhat since the birth of WonderBaby, who is a more active conversational partner.

    3) Oh, hey, funny story: I was once held against my will for two weeks on a Greek island by a weirdo who claimed to be in love with me. It ended when I was able to pick a lock to get into a room with a telephone and call my parents, who contacted the Greek authorities and Interpol. Then I escaped out a window, fled to safe-housing arranged by Interpol and was later smuggled onto a ferry in the middle of the night. I am not making this up.

    4) I lived in Spain from the time I was 19 until I was 21, having bailed on University to become an autodidact and write the Great Canadian Novel (which, as it happened, I had no interest in writing in Canada.) I sat around parks and smoky bars in Barcelona writing angsty crap about how my Spanish boyfriend was a cheating liar, but gave that up after a while to become a triple-threat performer (Sing! Dance! Act!) in a touring bilingual musical theater troupe. I’m not making this up, either.

    5) I have never actually broken up with a boyfriend. I ended relationships, but always did so passively-aggressively, by compelling them to break up with me (techniques ranged from the classic ‘distancing’ move – never returning phone calls – to arranging for them to be seduced while drunk by a slutty friend so that I could later have an outraged freak-out about their indiscretion and never see them again. Yes, I really did that.)

    6) That cycle of evil ended – as did the more troubling cycle of evil that was my predilection for angsty writing – when I was barely into my twenties, around the time that I returned to Canada from Spain and met the future Bad Father. We met young and married young – does that count as weird? – and I am beyond grateful to God/the gods/Fortuna for having arranged that I grow up, into adulthood, with the most wonderful man in the world. Which reminds me…

    The best, not-so-weird thing?

    I have only been, and will only be, in love once. The day that I met the future Bad Father, I fell in love for the first and last time. And? Out of that love came WonderBaby. So…

    7) I’m blessed.

    (Or, to put it differently? Things turned out a hell of a lot better for me than they did for Dana Plato.)

    ———
    So, I must now tag 6 unsuspecting bloggers…. hmm…. some of you have probably been tagged already, but what the hell…

    1.) Jezer (Again! Because I know you love it! And we gotta keep the Jezer posts comin’!)
    2.) Kristen
    3.) Redneck Mommy
    4.) chichimama
    5.) kittenpie
    6.) Sherry
    7.) Urban Mommy (I know, your hands are full of newborn goodness, but ya gotta post something fun before you get down to sharing the grim details of the Mother of all Bad Weekends.)

    If you’re reading this, and I haven’t tagged you, and you haven’t been tagged yet by someone else, consider yourself tagged. But note well: if you choose to accept this mission, the RULES, below, apply to you.

    So, yeah, rules. ‘Cause you know that you’re not really having fun until someone busts out some RULES:

    1.) Tell us six weird things about yourself. (I broke this rule. Why? Because it’s my blog and sometimes I like to go a little W.I.L.D. here.)
    2.) Come back here and let me know when you’ve completed the tag so that I can come over and giggle/chortle/comment/etc.
    3.) Tag 6 more bloggers. (OK, I broke this rule, too. I got carried away. It’s tag, dudes!)
    4.) Let those people know that you’ve tagged them.

    I think that’s it. I’m gonna go try to get drunk now. Wish me luck.

    My Bad Mother

    April 11, 2006
    ‘What kind of mother are you?’ is a fascinating, if totally loaded, question. I’m just starting out with this whole mothering thing, so I’m still really trying to find myself as a mother. The question that I’ve been more likely to ask myself, then, has been ‘what kind of mother will I be?’ And more specifically: ‘will I be a mother like my own mother?’

    I want to preface this by saying that I love my mother to the ends of the earth and beyond. We’re the best of friends. And I’m pretty happy with how I turned out. I had a very happy childhood, and consider myself to be a relatively well-adjusted adult with no significant psychological glitches and no major character failings. I really wouldn’t change anything about how I was brought up.

    (Love you, Mom!)

    That said, my mother was, for much of my childhood (and, it must be said, parts of my adulthood), pretty hell-bent on messing me up in the greater service of controlling me and amusing herself. My mother was the Original Bad Mother, originator of the art of bad motherhood in its most efficient and ruthless form. Her methods were unconventional, but they were effective. Oh, were they effective.

    The big guns in her child-rearing arsenal:

    Guilt. As in, “I’m so disappointed in you, Sweetie.” Or, “I expected more of you.” Prefaced by deep sigh. Followed by sagging of shoulders and slow shaking of head and silent transmission of the following message: you, my only light and hope, have broken my heart. At which point I would scramble madly to get my room tidy or boost that B+ to an A or rinse my dinner plate or floss or just fix whatever it was that I had done to break my poor mother’s heart. Brutal. She wonders now why it was that I was such a fastidious, obedient anal child.

    Yeah, Mom. I wonder.

    Humiliation. Was I refusing to get out of bed in time to catch the schoolbus? No problem – Mom would drive me to school! But she’d roll the convertible top down (in dead of winter), don a parka, driving goggles and a riding helmet and drive me right up to the grade-school playground area, honk the horn, and yell ‘WE’RE HERE SWEETIE! SAY HELLO TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS!’ I only missed the bus once in my entire school career.

    And I’m not even going to go into the detail on the ‘DO YOU LIKE THAT BOY?’ moments, the many occasions of surprising me in the bathroom with a camera to up her stock of humilating photographs (‘TO SHOW YOUR BOYFRIENDS’), the time she turned up in my seventh-grade classroom dressed up as a clown and planted big clown kisses on me… Let’s just say that she was known (and universally adored, to my great frustration) among my peers and throughout our neighborhood and very possibly beyond the neighborhood as Cathy’s Crazy Mom.

    And yes, she always spoke, in such moments, in full caps. It’s not really humiliation if every single one of your kid’s peers and anyone else who might turn to look can’t hear you.

    Am I oppressing this child by turning her into an Object of Amusement? Or am I liberating her inner House Party?

    Deception. My mother would tell me anything that she thought a) might control my behaviour, and/or b) give her a laugh. By the time I was five, I believed, among other things: that the bottom of my tongue would turn black if I lied; that there was a monster living in my parents’ bedroom closet; that the signs on the highway that said “Watch for Falling Rock” referred to a lost Native American boy who had wandered away from his parents; that I had been found in a cabbage patch and could be sent back there; that if I stuck my finger in my navel my bum would fall off.

    Accordingly, I never lied, I never went near my parents’ bedroom closet, I never left my parents’ side when we were out, I refused to eat cabbage and I never, ever touched my belly button.

    Distraction. My mother has worn dentures for as long as I can remember (the result of an accident when she was young). And my mother has loved her dentures for as long as I can remember. Why? Because there is no more effective means of stopping a child mid-tantrum than taking out one’s teeth, crossing one’s eyes and going ‘BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.’ This action is even more effective when performed in grocery stores, shopping malls, parks, doctor’s offices or any other public space. (See #2, Humiliation, above.) It is devastating to teenagers.

    And just for fun? You can perform this stunt during your child’s birthday parties, even when there’s no tantrum to stop. Just for fun. And? It’s even better if it’s your child’s 16th birthday party. Brings the house down. Kid won’t speak to you for a week, but still. Good times!

    This is so not how the story ended for me that day.

    So. Did the exercise of these Extreme Parenting tactics mess me up? Absolutely. But did they work? Abso-f***ing-lutely.

    I had my troubled teen periods (there was, for example, a Goth phase that freaked both of my parents out: nothing like listening to bands called Skinny Puppy and wearing a rosary as jewellry to freak out Catholic parents) but these were pretty mild – I mostly rebelled by sulking and shunning team sports in favor of Art and Poetry and Obscure Music and by just generally wearing my angst on my sleeve. I saved the Girls Gone Wild behaviour for after I left home, and even then, it was always pretty tame. More along the lines of Girl’s Gone A Little Wacky and Is Maybe Getting Drunk On Weekends But Always Feeling Guilty About It Afterward.

    (Okay, so the two years in Europe saw some extreme clubbing and a few embarassing Eurotrash club outfits and maybe passing out on the beach on the Costa Brava a few times. But I remained the kind of geek who would usually end up at a museum or art gallery the next day, nursing my hangover in front of Atomic Leda, clutching a dog-eared copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s L’Invitée and recording Deep Thoughts in my journal.)

    (FYI? The Teatro-Museo Dali in Figueres, Spain, is the singularly best museum in which to nurse a hangover. Brilliantly askew, such that you are entirely comfortable in your own teetering, head-throbbing skewedness.)

    Which is to say – I never had a close relationship with Trouble. I had to work hard just to flirt with Trouble. And if I did end up playing footsie with Trouble? I would usually run off shrieking in the opposite direction. Say it with me: Good Girl.

    (For The Record: this is not to say that I was an angel. I very definitely dappled in the arts of bitchery and passive-aggressive psychological warfare. I just never got my hands dirty. And I always – OK, mostly – felt badly about it.)

    I want WonderBaby to be a Good Girl – that is, my kind of Good Girl, one who knows when one can or must be bad, even as her mother’s voice urgently whispers don’t do it – as she sets out on her way to conquer the universe. There’s much more that I can – and certainly will, in some later post – say about that, but for now this one statement suffices: I want her to be Good. Not pathologically good, obviously (see past discussions about vulvaphobia) but good enough that she is concerned to avoid, so far as is reasonably possible, being unnecessarily bad. (Could I be more ambivalent about the good/bad nexus here? I’ve studied Machiavelli and Nietzsche for too long to be unreserved in my praise for goodness.)

    Aaaanyway. My mother’s techniques were pretty effective in securing the end of Good Daughter. Now, however, I am Her Bad Mother. Do I fully embrace this, and use my mother’s techniques on my own daughter, in some form or another?

    Ah, there’s the question. I know that I do want to give my daughter many of the things that my mother (and father, who was not so extreme, tho’ he could hold his own) gave me: a sense of wonder, a good heart, an experience of faith, a sense of humour. And these gifts, I think, were absolutely bound up in what I’ve been referring to as her extreme parenting tactics. So I’m inclined to think that if I do become the kind of mother that my mother was – and it looks like I’m well on my way there – that that might be a pretty good thing.

    But whatever the case, I’m not sacrificing the teeth.

    (Future) Bad Mother, Bad Grandma and Bad Niece, BWB (Before WonderBaby). You think I’m kidding on the BAD? Ha.

    Monday Miscellany – now with more linking action!

    April 10, 2006

    I might have saved some of this for WTF Wednesdays (a segment that I have yet to introduce to this site) but that I really needed some totally Lite AM Radio blogging today. To, you know, shake off all of the cringingly earnest NPR/Our Bodies Ourselves blogging of late last week.

    So, then: the news from WonderBaby Headquarters (and beyond!)…

    1) Guns don’t kill people; Teletubbies kill people.

    The Teletubbies, apparently, are falling back into their lives of crime. Six years after having caused some scandal by threatening children with gun violence, they’re back at it. That is, at least, Tinky Winky is: it was reported late last week that he informed a little Massachusetts boy that he was carrying a gun and not afraid to use it.

    But maybe we need to cut Tinky some slack: after all, he is a member of an Oppressed Minority (gay handbag-toting plush toys) and has been the victim of public hate crimes and so it must be expected that he might act out occasionally. Perhaps the kid called him a fag? Kids can be mean. Maybe Tinky was just defending himself.

    Then again, as the denizens of WonderBaby Headquarters well know, toys can be rough, tough and of dubious moral character. And so we were not surprised to learn that the Teletubbies deal in more than just guns. These guys put Tony Soprano to shame. Teletubbie Land is clearly the gateway to a vast criminal underworld.

    Consider yourself warned.

    2. If I could just get the Fed-Ex guys to take the package…

    Kristen could be one happy girl. Clive Owen is within rock-chucking distance of my back patio* as we speak (a benefit or drawback of urban living, depending on how you look at it, is the proliferation of film sets), and if I could get my aim right, I could probably bean him. Then, after he tumbles into my backyard, I could wrap up his crumpled body and send it to Kristen in Mississipi and she could do whatever she needed to do with him to get past her dry spell. But I don’t know that he’d get past customs.

    (Unless, Kristen, you’re not averse to a little lush girly action? ‘Cause Monica Belluci is back there, too. And dude? She is smokin’. All the Angelina goodness with none of the creepy Bradness and holier-than-thou tatted-up do-gooder nonsense.)

    *(Alas, no, I am not providing photographic evidence of this. Because there is nothing less cool, nothing less I-am-so-not-from-downtown – aside from socks with sandals, tickets to the Saturday afternoon Mamma Mia matinee, and stacked pleather heels – in the tribe of the Urban Dweller than taking photographs of film sets and celebrities. Because, you know, we are much too cool to care. Unless they do something really lame.)

    (I will, however, post a picture of the lazy-assed production assistant who is currently napping on the wall at the far end of our backyard. Because taking photos of random stupid people and posting them to the Internet is not uncool. Mean, maybe, and possibly illegal. But not uncool!)

    3. Why not keep Clive Owen for myself?

    Because, although cute, not my type. And, because yesterday Husband and I moved our mattress back into our bedroom from the nursery and reclaimed the bedroom for ourselves, thereby putting an end to the adolescent sneaking-around that was coming to define the making-out part of our relationship. Which, okay, had its own appeal, I’ll admit, but still. Inconvenient. I’ll say no more.

    4. Do they make these in adult sizes?

    WonderBaby’s got a new piece of exercise equipment:


    There’s something a little bit Red Shoes/They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? about the whole thing – dance, WonderBaby, dance! Until you can dance no more! – but she loves it. And it’s cute. And? Tires her out.

    That’s gold ’round these here parts. ‘Cause the whole sleep-transition thing – out of bassinet into crib; out of swaddle into freestyle sleeping; Bad Parents out of nursery – hasn’t been fully sorted out yet. Baby’s doing pretty well at night – going down fairly easily, only waking once to nurse – but this has been at the expense of the daytime naps. Which, with an off-the-growth-charts, squirmy Baby who is intent upon putting her plans for world domination into play now, is exhausting. But if she gets a good workout, a good meal, a good snuggle, and then is put down in her carseat, she’ll stay down for at least 2 of her 3 daily naps.

    And if making her dance ’til she drops helps that cause along, then I’m all for it. What can I say? I’m a Bad Mother.

    Nobody puts Baby in a corner