Sunday, December 20, 2009

Am I Missing Something?

You know, I thought I was a good judge of character.  And I thought I had a good handle on how close I was to my friends.  But now I'm starting to wonder about one of them, and it bums me out because I really like this friend, and thought we were closer than I guess she thinks we are.  Damn that Facebook.

This friend posted a comment on FB about a Cuban feast tomorrow night, and two mutual friends commented that they were looking forward to it.  Needless to say, I was not invited.  WTF, right?  I feel like I'm back in seventh grade, when I started getting edged out of my usual lunch table.

Maybe I'm just hormonal, maybe it's the holidays, maybe it's something that I know nothing about, but I'm pretty hurt by this.  Is it me?  Am I missing something?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Was This Necessary?

The other day I was watching the noon news and saw this:

Look, I'm glad when manufacturers acknowledge that their products may be dangerous to children, especially products that are as ubiquitous as window shades, but are there people - and parents especially - who really need to be told to keep them away from children? 

I was especially perturbed by the couple who was profiled in this story.  Don't get me wrong; I wish them no harm and am glad that their child was not killed by the cords on the blinds.  But I don't understand this:
"We had placed those shades next to his crib with no idea they were potentially so dangerous," Susan Urpsprung said.
Really?  Really?  It didn't occur to you at any time since your child was brought home from the hospital that putting the crib near a window with shades *might* be a bad idea?  Seriously?  I have three kids, and when I was setting up the nursery for the first time, it actually occurred to me not to put the crib on a window wall.  And when my oldest started crawling, I bought "blind winders" to shorten the blind strings so he couldn't reach them.

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's the responsibility of every parent to adequately childproof their homes, and that includes everything - take the cleaning supplies out from under the sink, put latches on every cabinet (except the one where you keep the Tupperware - and only the Tupperware), and remove any potential breakables and dangerous items from all living areas.  I think it's kinda sad that it didn't occur to some parents that blinds are dangerous, especially since all of the ones in my house have bright orange warning labels on them.

I hope someone told these parents not to keep knives or full cups of hot beverages on the counters, not to buy a large-screen plasma TV whose stand is unstable, and all those other warnings that I thought reasonably intelligent people could figure out on their own. 


Friday, December 11, 2009

Today's Lesson

That scraping noise that you hear when you turn the drum?  It's a piece of underwire from one of your bras.  It'll take two guys about three hours to disassemble your washing machine to get it out of there, but the machine is fine.  The tub is made of stainless steel and that wire'll eventually disintegrate.

And your laundry detergent?  Don't use anything unless is says it's made for high efficiency or front-loading washers.  And don't use too much.  All those suds is what makes these things break down.  What does laundry detergent do to grease, right?  Imagine what it'll do to the lubricant on the gasket over time. 

That'll be one hundred and thirty dollars, ma'am.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unsolicited Advice, part 1

I know there has been at least one time in your life when you wanted to tell somebody something that you know that (a) they don't want to hear, and (b) would not be received well should you have decided to tell it to them anyway. 

Well, this is another one of those times for me and since this person is Hubster's high school best friend's wife who lives three states away and with whom I am not more than an acquaintance.  For that reason, I am posting my feelings and unsolicited advice here.

First, I am really sorry that your doctor thinks that you have an autoimmune disease.  I cannot imagine the fear, uncertainty, and other emotions you are facing right now.  I also cannot imagine dealing with my own uncertainty coupled with having one child with special needs and another child who is still an infant.

Here is my unsolicited advice, given not to be mean or petty or obnoxious or negative:  for the immediate future, stop worrying about having a third child.  Seriously.  I have three that are each spaced roughly two years apart who, thank God, have no developmental or physical issues, and let me tell you, it's hard.  It's difficult physically, but you know all about that.  Imagine dealing with everything you're dealing with now, then add the stress of a newborn.  On a good day, never mind when one of them is sick or really needs some extra TLC, my kids each want more attention that I am physically capable of giving them.  Somebody, if not two somebodies, often must wait while I tend to the third.  I go to bed most days feeling guilty that I can't clone myself or be in three places at once.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is this:  I think you need to put your dreams of a larger family on hold right now, deal with the immediate issue (your health) first, and then see if having another child makes sense - not just financially (I'm sure he is making plenty and that money is not an issue), but physically and emotionally as well. 

It seems to me that you're trying to force things to happen.  I'm not trying to say that I know what God's purpose is for heaping you with so many obstacles, but maybe he's telling you to stop trying to make things happen and let Him do it for you.

If you read this, I'm sure you would be angry with me for presuming to know what's best for you.  I don't blame you - I would feel the same way if our places were switched.  But after reading your blog for two years, I am pretty sure that you and I are more similar than you could know.  This is the advice that I would need to hear and accept and, as much as I would hate to hear it, would eventually realize is true.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You Can't Write This Stuff

I am very glad that today is Tuesday because it means that Monday is over.  I'm hoping that it wasn't a harbinger of things to come for the rest of the week.  What was so horrible about Monday, you ask?  Well, let me tell you:
  1. T woke us up at around 1:30am saying he had to poop.  Hubster gets up and goes to help him.  When I heard Hub saying "Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh!" I knew what was going on.  The poor kid had pooped in his underpants and it was seeping out the leg holes and down his legs.  I think it took about seven wipes to get it all off his legs.  And I almost gagged washing out his underpants in the sing.  Poor kid.
  2. T then woke up at around 5:30 and was ready for the day to start.  Also, since he's a toddler, his "inside voice" is basically shouting, so I was woken to his "inside voice" announcing that he wanted to watch television.
  3. Took T and S to the pediatrician for a follow up appointment (they had ear infections because they were so congested after having the flu).  Had to circle the front parking lot twice and the back lot once.  Found at least three empty spots that my minivan could not fit into because people either (a) cannot adequately center their car between the lines, or (b) give up entirely on fitting between the lines and take up 1.2 parking spaces for their precious vehicle. 
  4. On the way out of the doctor's office, I stopped to schedule T's and S's yearly checkups.  The woman taking appointments then told me that our pediatrician is out on a personal leave of absence.  She didn't share much other than that it wasn't due to a medical issue but her behavior was, I don't know, weird?  I left with the feeling that this leave wasn't exactly the ped's decision but instead was pushed on her (she used to practice in another of the practice's offices, and I was told by an acquaintance that she was moved because she asked that her appointments be twenty minutes instead of ten, and the office wanted to "send her a message")
  5. By lunchtime, I was knocked out because we did a Santa Train Ride the night before and the kids didn't get to bed until almost nine.  Tried to take a nap on the couch with T while S was down in his crib, but T either ground his head into my sternum or kicked nonstop.
  6. When J got in the house after school, he told me that he fell asleep on the bus (see #5) and when he woke, he pooped in his pants.  It wasn't as messy as T's early morning surprise, but it was basically the same thing.  Poor kid.  I hope nobody on the bus noticed.
At least I had yoga last night...  om shanti...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

His 'n' Hers

I got my Christmas present early this year.  I asked Santa, er, the hubster, for an iPhone.  Initially he said that I didn't need one (truth be told, I don't, but after being without a laptop for two weeks, a smart phone seemed like a good idea considering that my oldest is in elementary school and many important communiques are sent electronically).  Last night at Best Buy, he had an epiphany and came around.  And fell so hard for the iPhone that he got one for himself, too.

If you don't have an iPhone or know someone who does, or even if you do, I have to say this:  it is SO freakin' cool! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


When deciding on a new career, the first step always seems to be to make a list of what you're good at, and what you really like to do.  So here goes(this is, by no means, an exhaustive list):
  • I like to do research on topics that interest me, such as:
    • parenting
    • technology
    • popular culture
      • television
      • music
      • the media
  • I like being a resource to my friends (see previous bullet point)
  • I'm good at reading people
    • I can usually tell who's honest and who's full of you-know-what
  • I like sharing my opinions on stuff (see first bullet point)
  • I love to read
  • I like to write
  • I like teaching people new stuff

Friday, November 27, 2009

When I Grow Up

S will soon be a year old.  It's all flown by so quickly - that whole pregnancy-newborn-infant cycle.  Maybe not all the time, but for the most part, I really loved being pregnant.  I loved that feeling, when the baby would move or kick, that secret just between you and your baby.  It's exhausting, but I love the connection I had with my boys while nursing.  And there is hardly anything better than the feeling of a baby resting his head on your shoulder. 

As much as I will miss all of that, I am really starting to look forward to the next stage in my life.  That said, I don't know what I want to do during that next stage.  I changed careers to become an elementary school teacher, but graduated shortly before J was born and therefore have no time in the classroom.

So, what do I want to be when I grow up?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(web) Surfing to Nirvana

I have this tendency, whenever I go online, to forget about all the cool sites I wanted to check out or things I wanted to research only to end up aimlessly surfing the Internet.  I usually begin at Facebook, then check out, and maybe BabyCenter or Homestar Runner.  Maybe every now and then I remember what I really wanted to do online, but usually I don't.  And so several more hours of my life are thrown into the abyss.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brochures I'd Like to See

You've seen them at every doctor's office you've been to: those brochures that educate you on topics ranging from asthma to gingivitis to urinary tract infections. Well, here are some brochures geared towards men that every women's advocating OBGYN office should offer (and maybe some GPs, too):
  • Hormones: Your Wife Isn't Psycho and No, She Can't Control Them
  • PMS: It's Real, Get Over It
  • Pregnancy: Yes, Your Boys Can Swim, Now Get Over Yourself and Fold Some Laundry
  • Congratulations, You're a Dad Now! So Wake Up and Feed the Baby So Your Wife Can Sleep for a Few Hours
  • Postpartum Depression: Like PMS, It's Real, So Don't Even Think of Telling Her to Just Get Over It

Wow, I'm really cranky today!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Anticipation Addict

I realized a couple of weeks ago that I am an anticipation addict. I have been one for my entire life.

I can give you loads of examples when I found that looking forward to an event was more enjoyable than the event itself - Christmas, rock concerts, vacations, college, dates, you name it. It saddens me when I think about how much time I spent looking forward to something that hadn't yet happened rather than enjoying the moment.

How do you break an almost forty-year-old habit? How do you teach a five-year-old not to start it?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Catching Up

So many things have happened since my last post. Here are a few:
  • J started kindergarten
  • T started another year of MDO
  • S started music
  • J played fall ball and, while showing some signs of aptitude for baseball, the experience was tarnished by a coach who ignored the players, including his older son, in favor of his three-and-a-half year old son. Neither Mom nor Dad were happy with this treatment. The other coach was good; the last time I was there he stood by J and showed him how to crouch down and field a ball. Wow - coaching! What a concept!
  • J also started music class. The other four boys have been taking classes with this teacher since they were babies, so they all know the teacher and her rules, expectations, etc. J is the new kid, and acts out. I made myself crazy with worry until another mom pointed out what I just wrote about the other boys (thank you!).
  • T suddenly became a chatterbox, which is pretty hysterical most of the time
  • S is teething and I suspect that four more pearly whites will show up at any time

And finally, hubby and I have been on the usual marital roller coaster, but things are getting brighter. I think we're hitting a stride where the ruts are growing shorter and shallower, which is really fantastic. Yay us!

More tapping and typing to come...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

He Talks!

Today was J's first day of a four-day-long music camp.

I asked him how it was when he first got home and he gave his standard answer: "fine" When I asked what he did, again, the standard answer: "I forget."

Each student in the camp received a packet containing a booklet, CD, and harmonica. J proudly showed it to me, and I helped him open everything. I started to open the booklet to see what was inside, and he immediately grabbed it from me and ran into the dining room to read it privately. At first I wasn't sure why, because there wasn't anything juicy in it, but then he returned to share some knock-knock jokes that were in the book.

When it was bedtime, I suggested we listen to the CD in the boys' room while they got ready for bed. J was very excited. With each song, he would hear the first few bars, announce that he didn't remember hearing it. But as the lyrics or the theme began, he got so excited! "Oh!" he'd exclaim, "I remember this! The teacher blew bubbles and we had to catch them with our hands but we couldn't catch them so we had to pretend that we did." And with each song, he would get excited all over again and show us what he did in class during that song. J also told me that he wants to do music camp every week.

J has never been so enthusiastic or descriptive about something he'd experienced before! I'm now seriously considering enrolling him in the yearlong class. I really enjoyed watching J so happy about and engaged by music.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Watch Too Much Children's Television

And here are some more observations:
  • Yo Gabba Gabba! is this generation's version of the Sid and Marty Kroft shows I watched as a kid, except instead of being the brainchild of two 60s hippies, it's the brainchild of a couple of millenial Brooklyn hipsters.
  • To the costumers at Hi-5: I realize that Discovery Kids is running episodes that are at least four years old, but what were you thinking when you put Curtis in that red pleather vest? He looks, well, really creepy.
  • Without seeing the copyright date at the end, I can usually tell approximately when an episode of Blue's Clues was filmed by Steve's (a) hairline and (b) enthusiasm level. (Steve Burns, I think you're awesome, but admit it - you were seriously chipper in the first year's episodes. In a good way)
  • What's with renaming the Jumparounds to the Fresh Beat Band? It's bad enough that the cast looks like it was assembled by Jack Donaghy (he's at it again - the new Electric Company wasn't enough?), but the names, oh the names. The guys are Twist and Shout. Seriously. And is it 1986 all over again? Fresh Beat? F R E S H, yo that's fresh!
  • Moral lessons aside, I really really like Veggie Tales. Reminds me of classic Bugs Bunny and Sesame Street in that there are as many jokes for the grownups as there are for the kiddies. And how can you not like Larry the Cucumber?
  • I don't condone violence, but I would probably look the other way if Swiper Fox clawed Dora's eyes out. Ditto for Baby Jaguar and Diego. WHY DO YOU KIDS HAVE TO SHOUT ALL OF YOUR LINES? AND WHY ARE YOU ASKING MY KIDS TO SAY IT LOUDER? STOP IT, ALREADY!
  • I also really really like the Backyardigans. The song writers are so talented.
  • I don't like that Disney has moved any non-computer animated, non-Disney rubberstamped, non-merchandise tie-in-able shows to either the weekends or the rubbish heap (Charlie and Lola for the former, the Wiggles for the latter). I'm not anti-CG (see the above bullet), but I'm kind of overloaded on it. I adore the visual styles of Charlie and Lola, Blue's Clues, Bunnytown, Jack's Big Music Show...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blog Therapy

I'm posting these things here because I can't exactly put them on a Post-It note on my bathroom mirror. Hubster hasn't quite come to the same realizations yet, and it's just not worth the aggravation getting him to see the light.

Timeline of events:
  • Wed 6:38pm - phone call asking what we're doing Thursday. She's getting her hair done in the morning and wants to know if she can stop by after doing some errands following her appointment. Knows that it's nap time but could take J out for a while (no mention of wanting to see T or S). I say I'm not sure; she says she'll call when she's ready to head towards our house.
  • Thurs 1:25 - message on home phone that she's having lunch and where am I? (um, sorry, not your business) Says she'll call after lunch is over.
  • Thurs 2:10 - message on cell phone (which was inadvertantly left in the double stroller on Wednesday), finished with lunch and not sure if she should go visit convalescing friend or come by our house. Also mentions that she needs to ice her ankle for an hour (gee, so glad you view us as your resting place in between errands)
  • Thurs 2:25 - ANOTHER message on home phone; I forget the details but basically she's done with lunch and errands
  • Thurs 2:35 - I call her from M&D's and leave a message on her cell phone that we're en route home
  • Thurs 4:30 - she calls and asks if she can come by for an hour. I say okay only because we're home and why not, let's just get this over with.
  • Thurs 5: - 6:00 - Her visit. Minimally aggravating.
Important note to self: You - and the kids - are NOT her priority. If this was about the kids and not her, she would come see the kids on a day and time that works for ALL of them. Instead, we're just another stop on her list of errands to run. Stop feeling guilty about going on with your life and not sitting at home waiting for her to call while she's out going on with *her* life. If it's okay for her, it's more than okay for you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sigh, MEN!

I'm talking specifically about my husband, but this probably applies to most husbands and fathers.

Hub was off today for the holiday (he was also off yesterday but spent the day golfing with some coworkers, but that's another story entirely). Since he was home all day, he got to see firsthand what life is like for a full-time mom with three little boys all under the age of five. I think it was an eye opener for him.

9:27am. We're in the kitchen and can hear J and T fighting over something; I think J took a toy that T was playing with or something like that. Hub is trying to sort through some paperwork and says to me, "How do you listen to this and not want to kill them?" I simply tell him that that's why I'm such a raging bee-yotch once bedtime rolls around.

10:30am. Hub has had enough of the brotherly love and takes J and T to the playground. I stay home while S naps and, once he wakes up, walk to the playground to meet the guys. Were I home alone, a ride to the playground would have been out of the question at that time. I don't know if hub realized that.

12:40pm. We're at Burger King having lunch. T eats all of his apple fries, but picks at his cheeseburger. I say he only has to eat half of it, then rip the burger in half. T starts getting upset because he wants it back as one big piece. Hub tries to cajole him into eating it, but T starts hitting him. Hub gets angry, T keeps hitting and escalates into meltdown mode. Hub picks T up and carries him to the car.

I could go on, but basically this continues throughout the day, during dinner, and until bedtime when Hub announces that the boys aren't getting any stories. Hub says it's because the boys aren't listening, but I suspect that it's because he's dog-tired from life and is in a crappy mood from dealing with being home with all three kids. Sheesh. Imagine if I weren't home all day!

And I know it would be too much to hope for a comment like "Wow, now I know why you're so cranky when I get home at night." or "I totally get why you want me to help you put the boys to bed."

Cause he's a man. Sigh...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Variety is the spice of life

Seriously. In what parenting book is it written that kids should only listen to kids' music and nothing else?

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against the Wiggles. Hub and I took the kids to see them last November (second row seats!) and the grownups enjoyed it more than the kids. Heck, I even dedicated an entire blog entry to Greg Page. But there comes a time when just can't listen to "Fruit Salad Yummy Yummy" anymore without wanting to tear your hair out.

When I hit this point, I like to put the ipod on shuffle and let the songs fall where they may. Skipping, of course, anything with inappropriate lyrics or songs that I'm just not in the mood to hear right then and there. Hub finds it amusing, but there are times when nothing will soothe like "Baby You Can Drive My Car."

And it totally made my day when J told me that he liked "Christine Sixteen" by Kiss.

Rock on, baby brotha!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dante's Inferno

I am convinced that there is a Walmart ring of hell, and through the magic of a wormhole in the time-space continuum, instances of the aforementioned ring of hell exist right here on earth. I should know; I was at Walmart today.

There's a Walmart on the same road as the car dealership and since I had to get my car's oil changed AND wanted to get a new bike for J's birthday (he comically dwarfs his 12" one), I figured I'd kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

Yeah, right.

Last night, courtesy of their website, I found that Walmart is one of the few local retailers that sells reasonably priced 18" bikes. I was also happy to find that the website indicated that the store closest to the car dealership had ample stock of several styles of 18" boys' bikes.

Again: Yeah, right.

The store only had one model of 18" bike available, and it was a very girly light blue one with streamers in the handlebars. I suppose I should be happy that the store had ANY 18" bikes since I was able to confirm that it was indeed the correct size for J, but what genius hardcoded the inventory check feature? I suspect that if those bikes are indeed in stock, they're somewhere deep in the bowels of some stockroom, buried under boxes lawn furniture where employees hide out and smoke pot during their shift.

I now have one choice but to order site-to-store. Shudder...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why would you think this is okay?

Things I've seen parents do that made me scratch my head:
  • Let a two and a half year old carry a container of lighter fluid ("It has a childproof cap!")
  • Put a fifteen month old on top of a five-foot tall climbing structure, tell him to jump, and catch him
  • Let a five and a half year old girl play outside without a shirt (it wasn't that hot out)
  • Let a two and a half year old brush his own teeth and not go back to rebrush
  • Issue idle threats when a four year old hits and throws wood chips at other children
  • I know there are gazillions more, but I just can't think of them right now.

Some of these happened to my children, by my beloved. Heavy sigh.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More gripes with children's television

I understand the premise of this show - junk food and inactivity bad, exercise and healthy foods good. However, I don't think the writers really thought through how preschoolers process the show's content. I caught a couple of minutes of an episode where characters were decorating a cake with icing and candy, which quickly devolved into food being thrown everywhere. I know if I were a small child watching this, I would have been fascinated by how much fun the characters were having, not thinking "Gee, they shouldn't be eating all of those sugary treats." Nice try, but way off the mark.

Toot and Puddle
Maybe it's because I have a child-like (childish?) mind, but the title cracks me up. They should have called the show "Fart and Pee."

Any recently added Playhouse Disney show
This includes gems such as "My Friends Tigger and Pooh," "Handy Manny," and "Special Agent Oso." It's as if the Disney folks have decided that they're going to make as much money as humanly possible by canning any show that requires animators and puppeteers in favor of a bunch of homogenously computer-animated fare. The shows I mentioned are alright; they're not offensive and on some level they offer something constructive for kids, but they all look the same. It makes me nostalgic for "Blue's Clues" and "Charlie and Lola" (two of my all time favorite kids' shows).

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stuck like a broken record, if anyone remembers what that means

There are certain times I really feel my age. The one aspect where I find it most pronounced is when trying to follow any current music scene.

Oh, I've bought CDs and downloaded songs from itunes recently, sure. But to illustrate my point, the last song I downloaded from itunes was "Island in the Sun" by Weezer. Certainly not a recent hit. The last CD that I remember buying was "Songs for Jane" by Maroon 5, and that was about five years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child.

I want to be more in tune (okay, pun intended) with current music, but I feel like I have so much ground to cover. The last time I was really up on music was in the mid- to late-90s, when I was spending a lot of time with friends who worked in radio, long before I was married and certainly well before I had kids.

These days, I'm more up to date with The Wiggles' latest release than whether or not The Fray and The Killers are cool. I don't even know what songs The Killers sing. For someone who was known as a sort of music maven, it's rather embarrassing.

My brother tried to help my cause a couple of years ago by giving me some CDs for Christmas. I really liked the Belle and Sebastian one he got me, and would have liked to share it with the boys, but the lyrics were, shall we say, inappropriate for children. I didn't quite "get" the Apples in Stereo disc, but maybe I'm just showing my age here. I still have two more discs to listen to - TV on the Radio and The New Pornographers, but I don't know when I'll have time to digest them.

Probably when the boys are old enough to listen to music that will make me wistful for some Stabbing Westward.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I triple-dog dare you...

Now, I love my husband very much. I love him and my kids more than anyone or anything else on this earth. That said, it really bugs the hell out of me when he makes sarcastic comments about me hiring a cleaning lady. It makes me want to issue the following challenge, which is also my current fantasy:

I wake up and get up when I'm good and ready to. I take a long, leisurely shower and shave my legs and my bikini area. I moisturize my entire body, get dressed, fully blowdry my hair, and put on make up.

I give the boys (including the hubster) big kisses and say goodbye. Hubster asks where I'm going, I say "out." Hubster asks when I'm coming back, I say "later." And I go out somewhere for the day. (I haven't worked out this part of my fantasy just yet)

While I'm gone, the hubster must accomplish the following:
  • Feed all three kids three nutritious meals (only one meal may be purchased outside the home - so if the older boys have bagels and chocolate milk for breakfast, they can't have fast food for lunch or dinner). This includes preparing cereal to the proper thickness and feeding it to the baby.
  • Ensure that nobody dehydrates - provide the older boys with appropriately diluted fruit juice throughout the day and prepare and feed formula to the baby (did I mention that I breastfeed and can't pump lest I overproduce?)
  • Give the kids snacks, but not too many so as to spoil their appetite.
  • Clean the entire house - kitchen, both bathrooms, all bedrooms, living, and dining rooms
  • Wash, dry, fold, and put away at least one load of laundry
  • I'll give him a pass on grocery shopping because he stays with the three boys while I have my "Mommy time" (hub's words, not mine) at the supermarket. Besides, if need be, I can always have Peapod deliver while he's home.

If this challenge is not successfully met, ... oh heck, even if it is, I still deserve acknowledgement that being a stay at home mom isn't an easy job. And that outsourcing the housecleaning does not make me lazy (that's a subject for another post entirely).

I love you honey, but the sarcastic comments about what I do all day need to stop.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Books are Brain Food

Like a lot of other moms, I've been sucked into the Twighlight series by Stephenie Meyer. Of course, the joke's on us as kajillions of teenage girls have been into the series for a couple of years now. But I digress... I've read the first three books and am waiting for the library to call me when a copy of the fourth is on reserve for me.

So for kicks, and to tide me over until the book is in, I checked out the trailer for the second movie in the series, New Moon. Okay, I realize I'm a bit older than the movie's target demographic; however, I do like to kid myself and think that I'm still in touch with my preteen-angst self. That said, my comment to the studios: Really? Am I missing something? I'll admit that when reading the books, I imagine Edward looking rather Robert Pattinsonesque, but in this clip he could pass for an escaped animatronic from Disney's Hall of Presidents. Maybe he was directed to act that way (in that case, he's a director's dream, a wonderfully malleable actor), but he was just so ... wooden ... in the scene where he tells Bella he's leaving. I was really disappointed.

Maybe it's because I spent four years of college learning how to make and critique movies (my coursework included scripting for the media, recording and editing film, experimental video, and film and video analysis), but with the exception of the Harry Potter series, I have rarely seen a movie version of a book that did the book justice. Maybe it's because I spent many a summer devouring stacks of fiction that I learned how to create vivid mental pictures that can't be faithfully translated into reality. Maybe it's because the best images are left incomplete, left to one's own imagination rather than to some hotshot director's vision.

Maybe it's because books are way better brain food than movies.

(Note to self: Continue to demonstrate this by being an example of a voracious reader for the boys.)

(Note to everyone else: While I am enjoying the Twilight series tremendously and do not begrudge Stephenie Meyer her success, I do not think the books are examples of good writing. In fact, I find them quite the opposite, and felt that Eclipse was the poorest written of the series so far. I don't know that I could do any better, but you know what they say about those who can't do... they either teach, or become critics. I'd be happy being a combination of the two, as long as my criticism of my students is purely to help them improve their skills and not out of spite or malice.)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two more thoughts on Adam Lambert...

... well, three.
  1. I still find the guy really likeable. And I sincerely want him to have a long and successful career as an artist, whatever that means.
  2. I've said this for as long as I'd been watching American Idol this season: I find that Adam Lambert's singing voice sounds an awful lot like Brian McCarthy's. Except I think these days, Brian is now known as Owen McCarthy. Either way, he was the lead singer for the Everyothers, the band for which my cousin played bass. And every time I watched Adam sing on AI, I would think of Brian. Owen. Whoever.
  3. This has probably more to do with the folks at 19 Entertainment than Adam, and I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayin'. Enough with the Donnie Darko version of "Mad World." Please. I used to love that song. Mostly because you never heard it except on 80's flashback programming, and only then if you were lucky, and it was usually the original Tears For Fears version. But now that it's become Glambert's signature song, it's waaaaaaaaaay overdone. Please, for my sake, give the song some breathing room. Like seven or eight years' worth.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Children's Programming

In the interest of fairness, since I bashed Hip Hop Harry the other day, I feel the need to provide an example of a *good* children's television show.

Exhibit A: Pinky Dinky Doo

Why It's Good:
  1. It teaches new vocabulary words. Each episode introduces a new word, and every time a character uses that word, Mr. Guinea Pig heralds its use with trumpet fanfare. (reminds me of what Mrs. Bender used to have us do in the Intermediate Unit - in our writing pieces, whenever we used a new word, we were to draw blue flashes around it. When you're a third or fourth grader, that's pretty kewl stuff.)
  2. It teaches narrative elements such as sequencing and summarizing. Yeah, pretty heavy stuff for preschool television, right? After each episode, Pinky and her brother Tyler play games like "What Came First?" and "Who Said That?" to test viewers' comprehension skills.
  3. It has a hand-drawn, collage-like look that's not unlike another favorite of mine, Blue's Clues. Rather than utilizing slick 3D computer animation like some kids' shows, characters and backgrounds in PDD looks like something a kid could draw him or herself.
  4. It has a kid's sensibility. Character names include Bobby Boom, Daffinee Toilette, and Nicholas Biscuit. One episode takes place in outer space, and the kids' spaceship is shaped like a giant toilet. It's purely a sight gag; the shapeship's appearance is never mentioned. Kids are treated like intelligent beings who get such a joke, not objects to which writers must condescend.

Thank you, Jim Jinkins for creating a terrific kids' show.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Genius or Exploitation?

I watched Adam Lambert on Regis and Kelly today.

You know, they call him "Glambert," the guy with the black nailpolish and eyeliner ("guyliner" to be precise) who everyone was convinced would win American Idol but didn't? Yeah, that guy. I really enjoyed watching him on AI, but after his interview with Reege and Kelly, I'm not sure how I feel about him anymore.

He told the hosts how instead of viewing AI as a competition with other singers, he looked at it as a competition with himself, that each week he strove to perform better than the week before. Loved that Zen-like twist on competing.

Then he went on to say that he approached his audition for and experience on AI not as a competition to win, but rather as a platform to become a mainstream artist. Sure explains his reaction to Kris Allen's win, and yes, Jennifer Hudson also said something similar, but for some reason this left a sour taste in my mouth.

Maybe because it's so soon after the finale that Adam has exposed AI for what it is - not just a means to discover as-yet undiscovered talents, but also a platform for aspiring (and semi-seasoned) artists to springboard their careers.

I wonder how Simon Fuller feels about this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kiddie Kritique

I admit it. The title sucks today. Can't think of anything more clever right now.

So this afternoon while T was at his program, J and I watched some television. The first show we watched was his current favorite, Hi-5. In the beginning, as with most children's shows, I found it kind of annoying, but after a few (hundred) viewings it's grown on me. The songs are catchy and, most important, the content is age appropriate and rather unoffensive. After Hi-5 was a program called Hip Hop Harry.

Hip Hop Harry. Where to begin? As you might gather from the title, the show features a character named Hip Hop Harry, which is actually some person in a bear(?) costume. But not just any bear, oh no. Let's just say that Harry's costume was probably designed by Jack Donaghy - oversized T-shirt with the manufacturer's label on the lower left front, baggy shorts, humongous white sneakers with untied laces spanning the eyelets, and let's not forget the massive "H" chest medallion hanging from what appears to be some sort of gold drapery roping.

The show also features some children and a teenager or childishly dressed adult, all stereotypically attired with oversized pants and shirts for the boys, and cropped jackets for the girls.

I was so dizzy from the camera work - arcing pans, quick zoom in/zoom outs - that it was hard to focus on the dreck these kids were saying. Today's episode was all about how hip hop music contains elements of other genres - classical, country, etc. Naturally, there was the setup dialogue ("I love hip hop music! Is there any other kind?") accompanied by the requisite mugging to the camera, followed by H3 (takes too long to type Hip Hop Harry so many times, so from this point forward, we'll call him "H3") explaining from behind his two turntables and a microphone that yes, Virginia, there are other kinds of music played on ... gasp! ... REAL INSTRUMENTS (demonstrated by the kids with FAKE, SYNTHESIZED EXAMPLES), and if you just give it a chance, doggone it, you just might like all kinds of music.

I think I'd like to meet H3's head writer and the suit who greenlit the show and punch them both. Kids deserve so much better than this crap.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Here we go again...

Right now it's hard for me to sit down long enough to type coherently. I feel so frustrated and angry. I want to scream, to run around, to punch somebody (specifically the hubster, but we'll get into that in a minute), and just pretty much act as maturely as one of the boys.

I am so aggravated with the hubby. I don't know how to get it through his thick skull that I will be incredibly moody, and will have little control over myself when I am. He seems to think that I can control my mood swings despite being three weeks postpartum, hormones swilling about and all. And of course I'm also one of those people who can't see straight when they get angry, compounding the problem.

Gah, time to get back into therapy.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Booby Prize?

I thought everything was going just fine with breastfeeding, but apparently that is not the case. Turns out that S only gained two ounces since his two-day checkup. The ped wants me to supplement him with formula (so don't want to go down that path...). Of course I've been pretty much obsessed with this news since I got back from the ped's office, and even called and emailed the lactation consultant in an attempt to figure out what's going on. Maybe the swelling under S's nipples going down affected his weight gain. And maybe I'm really reaching here.

You'd think that I'd practically be able to teach a class on breastfeeding after my experiences with J and T. Oh well, it's always something, right?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

aaaaand, we're back!

It's been over three months since I've posted. So many things, both large and small, have happened. Here are some examples:
  • At my 36 week checkup, the OB follows up her hello with, "So you're having another boy?" to which I reply, "I don't know, am I?" I was rather pissed, mostly because I didn't want to know the gender of the baby. I sincerely hope her first reaction was "Oh, shit."
  • The rest of my pregnancy went without incident, for which I'm grateful.
  • T's second birthday party got snowed out, which was kind of a bummer, but I'm glad he's only two and was therefore unaware of what happened. My parents came over and the six of us had dinner and cupcakes (which were super yummy) to celebrate.
  • Christmas was pretty uneventful, which is how I wanted it. I could tell that AM's boyfriend hasn't been around many pregnant women, because he kept asking me if I was about to go into labor. So glad that one of my OBs told me that it was okay to have a small glass of wine.
  • My due date (12/26) came and went. I was scheduled for an induction on New Year's Eve.
  • I was on the fence as to which date I "preferred" for the baby to arrive (as if it were up to me). NYE is a cool day for a birthday, but part of me wanted January 1 for silly, selfish reasons - psychological space between T's birthday and this baby's, a different birthstone, and not having to worry about the school cutoff.
  • Turns out that S made the decision for us - he decided to arrive shortly after midnight on New Year's Day. Made the front page of the local paper and were on the local cable news channel. That was neat, but felt kind of weird. I wondered if I was worrying too much about my family's information being broadcast (literally) to thousands of people in the area.

That's what I've been up to. Don't know how current I'll keep this since I now have three boys to chase after.