Monday, August 28, 2006

gut reaction

wile loves his aunt sar and uncle perry (aka "peggy").


5 great iPhotos

sar + wile

unfortunately, they make him barf.

exhibit a
wile is three months old, we go over to sar + perry's apartment for football sunday. wile barfs more than he'd ever barfed before and has ever barfed since, soaking me and him. i'm able to borrow cothes from sarah, but wile isn't so lucky. i'd forgetten to bring him a change of clothes (what, i'd only been a mom for 3 months!), and as sar and perry only have cats, not babies, wile ends up wearing home.....a pillowcase. this was the first and most dramatic in a string of times that wile barfed at sar + perry's apartment in his first year of life. i learned to bring lots of extra clothes.

exhibit b
a double whammy, this one was. sarah's bachelorette weekend in manhattan (which i was co-planning) and perry's bachelor weekend in vail (which stephen was co-planning) were scheduled, of course, for the same weekend in january. on the thursday before the big weekend, with stephen already en route to colorado, all hell broke loose. wile and i were both sick for only 24 hours, but stephen didn't fare as well.... maybe it was the fact that his barfing was prefaced by a long plane ride (and a trip to burger king), but he was down for almost the whole weekend. he spent the entire drive from the denver airport to the condo in vail lying on the floor in the back of perry's uncle's suburban, praying for death. he tried to get out on the mountain, but had to be brought home by ski patrol. and then, of course, it spread.... not only to the other bachelors, but to the entire state: there was a flu epidemic in colorado in mid-january. back on the east coast, wile and i between us managed to only pass the ick on to uncle conner, who had come down with my parents to stay with wile.

exhibit c
two months later, the week of the wedding rolls around. we are getting on a plane on sunday to make our way down to miami, the site of the big event. on friday, like clockwork, wile starts barfing. he barfs on saturday. he barfs once on the plane. when we get to florida, he stops barfing and i start. by the day of the wedding, we're both recovered.

exhibit d
this weekend was shmergelfest, the annual wiffleball/bbq/pool party extravaganza thrown by perry and his brother. so, of course, last wednesday wile stared barfing. he barfed wednesday night. he barfed thursday. then, thankfully, no more barfing. stephen and i weren't taken down. and we all attended schmergelfest, where wile discovered the joys of "fwhutaball". but still, there was barfing.

it's like his insides hear me say "party...sarah....perry" and start a-churning.

Monday, August 21, 2006

e-z bake

as if wile hadn't brought in a big enough haul at his birthday party, this weekend stephen's parents brought him his own kitchen. it has almost as much counter space as mine. it really is a wonderful thing: stephen's dad made it for wile's aunt susie when she was little, then it got passed on to cousins marcus and julia, then back to stephen's parents, and, one fresh coat of paint later, on to wile.

wile has grasped the concept of pretend quite firmly. here you can see him preparing some lovely noodles for me:


after noodles, of course, what you'll want is some cake:


potholders? feh! potholders are for sissies!


why yes, it does look delicious


what, this isn't how you serve your cake?


and finally, one can enjoy the fruits of one's labors...


other notable news this week:

-- he's switched from wanting everything "big" to wanting everything "yodee diny" (trans: "little tiny"). we'll see how long this one lasts....

-- he has started to say okay, except it comes out "otay." i just about choke trying not to laugh every single time.

Monday, August 14, 2006

wile and the fine art of seduction

scene: a tapas restaurant in the mission, lunch with our friend ted. wile spots a pretty lady at the table next to ours and tries to impress her with his skillz....

Monday, August 07, 2006

diving in

for the most part i don't give too much thought to the whole "mommy wars" debate that has been running around for the past few years—you know, stay at home moms [sahms] vs. working outside the home moms [wohms], all the books and articles and sniping and blah blah blah. but then in the past week i stumbled across this and this, which begat this.

please take a moment to read or skim.

done? okay, moving on.

after reading and rereading both of these, it's been all i can think about. and i know this is unsafe territory to be walking in to. as a matter of fact, real life example: just a couple of weeks ago mona and i were sitting in a coffee shop having lunch with our friend stephanie (and all of our offspring, of course), talking mom talk, and stephanie said something like "i just can't imagine going back to work after 3 months," and the woman grabbing some straws and napkins from the bar behind us raised her eyebrows so high i thought they were going to merge with her hairline and turned to us and said "you're lucky you didn't have to!" to which stephanie replied, "i know." to which eyebrows mcgee gave us a sanctimonius smile and walked out saying "have a nice day, ladies...."

so lest you injure your eyebrows while reading this, let me start this whole thing by saying: i know. i know that i'm lucky that i didn't have to go back to work for economic reasons. i know that a large percentage of the mother who go back to work do so because they have to.

okay, so now that we're past the disclaimers, what's been stewing in my brain is this: what the hell is up with this (sometimes angry) backlash against sahms? why is working outside the home (you know, for money) seen as something that validates our existence, confirms our worth, and forms our identity, and working in the home (aka being a stay-at-home parent) so often pissed on?

the amy sohn piece that i linked to up there (on mr. nice guy's blog) has been all over the blogs (although if you try to follow the link to the original piece, on her site, you'll find it's been deleted. coward.), and while most of the comments have called her out as the ludicrous beyotch that she seems to be, there have also been a fair share of "sahm go home"–type comments. this is a response to a comment that calls sohn's essay the result of "a guilty conscience lashing out":

guilty conscience lashing out? maybe, but at least she has enough sense to be ashamed. unlike so many stay-at-home parents who've taken to parenthood without a trace of regret or doubt.

i'm sorry, i just hallucinated for a minute. what? the "sense to be ashamed" of....staying at home with her child part time? heh? and why exactly am i supposed to feel regret and/or doubt about my choice to stay home with my baby?

and sohn's essay itself, even though she starts off pissing and moaning about how sahms are "lionized", goes on to smack down the sahms, positing that staying at home with your baby makes you crazy, stupid, and a bad mother. oh and if you went to college, it makes you irresposible, because you're wasting your education by not working. which encapsulates the attitude toward sahms that i've been running into lately and that's got a bee in my bonnet: people feel that sahms are being lionized, but really they're being put down and patronized to; treated like a second choice, something you do with a heavy heart.

i feel like every time i read something about sahms, the writer is, often in the very same breath, saying how very awesome it is for women to stay at home with their babies but also how it is such a sacrifice and how by staying home you're missing out on, you know, life. example: the woman who writes the parenting column in our neighborhood paper reacted to sohm's article this week. and while she chastizes sohm for being so "nasty" towards motherhood and "putting down" sahms, she also says that she "found it exceedingly boring to be home with [her] one-year old", and only made it through because she was able to "escape" to her writers' group and therapist.

all of which, you know, is valid. you need a break from the 24/7 baby immersion, absolutely. but, as any writer knows, choice of words is powerful, and using the word "escape" makes being at home with your baby sound like a prison sentence. and, yes, life with a one-year old is definitely big on repetition and low on intellectual stimulation. but it's pretty big on emotional stimulation. and again, word choice! "exceedingly" boring? really? all the time? could you maybe mention the good parts too?

the parenting columnist called what sohn and others are spewing "mommy rage". i think a more accurate term—or maybe just a related symptom?—would be "mommy shame". in addition to her diatribe against sahms, sohn wrote a stupid article in new york magazine in which she dished about how her "goal is not to look like a mother so much as a still-young, still-cool person who just happens to have a child". like it's embarrassing to admit you like being a mom. it's like how i used to be embarassed to admit that i liked destiny's child because oh no, i don't listen to anything that's on z100, i listen to indie rock and hip hop. but you know what? i really like destiny's child. and my not admitting i like destiny's child doesn't harm destiny's child, or pop music in general. but moms being freaked out about admitting that they like being moms—or even that they are moms—is really damaging. it's like how "mommybloggers" have become a whipping post in the blog world: first off the term, which is slightly condescending, and then the attitude from other bloggers that parenting blogs are somehow less intersting/valid than other blogs, that mom blogs are just stupid women blathering on about how wonderful their kids are and woe is me how hard mothering can be and oh they should try getting out in the real world if they want to see hard. and that just pisses me off, because what it comes down to is the idea that if something isn't in the public sphere it's not valid, which is a bunch of bullshit. if only two people see a beautiful painting, is it not beautiful?

i think this is partially a failing of modern feminism (hello again, unsafe territory!). i know that the first step of second wave (60s and 70s) feminism was getting women out of the home, getting equal pay, equal opportunities, etc. but saying "staying home with the kids is for suckers! we want to be out in the world, doing important work!" made it so: staying at home with the kids was for suckers, and only work done outside the home, for money, was important.

now, before my stepmom gets in the car to come down here and smack some sense in to me, let me say: thank you, second wave feminists. we have choices. we have stay-at-home dads. we have female CEOs. we are free to be you and me. life would truly suck if the women's movement hadn't done their thing. (and i might not be such a blissed out sahm if being a sahm was a given rather than a choice, like it was back in the day, since lord knows there's nothing i hate more than being told what to do.) but! we also still have people clinging to the idea that staying at home with your child is a "sacrifice" and something to "regret".

and maybe another part of the problem is that there does exist this holier-than-thou picture of the sahm—it's better for the kids, you should love every second you spend with your children or you're a bad mom, etc. and so some women try to adhere to to the "ideal" even though they realize after a few months (weeks, whatever) that being a sahm is not for them. and then they do go kinda crazy, and get really frustrated, and, in venting their frustrations, perpertuate the idea that being a sahm is something done with many reservations. to which i say: then don't do it! go back to work! but don't slam being a sahm just cause it's not for you.

i love being home with wile. but i didn't quit or take time off from a career i adored to have my baby. i like being at home, puttering around the house. i like being by myself. i'm not all that ambitious. i've always been one for simple pleasures. but that's my story. i know it's not everyone's. but it's mine. and anyone who wants to tell me it's a bad story can fuck straight off. i hope all mothers can say the same.