Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Cure for Whining

I cannot tolerate whining. From children.

In my opinion only mothers should be allowed to whine. Our voices are (generally) deeper and our reasons for whining (always) more compelling. And as you know, I love a good whine. I try to whine about something at least twice a day, and indeed, I think mothers should be encouraged to whine whether it comes naturally to them or not. But children can and should be trained not to. Especially if they live in Wyoming and have rural western accents at age two. Rural western accent+carping/whinnying =appalling din.

Many of you -- sensing that I know what I am doing when it comes to dealing with toddlers -- have asked me to share my secret method for stopping the small people from making that infernal noise, like a permanent mosquito in Mama’s ear. Since we are always eager to share in our house, I am only too happy to tell you what it is I do to stop Crabtot from whining. In 3 Simple Steps.

Step 1: So easy, but can diminish in efficacy over time. Pretend you do not understand when tot speaks in squeaky mewling syllables, when she draws out the pleas in a warbling whinge, inventing vowels where none exist like a tiny R&B singer only without tune. Tell your little pest she is speaking a language you do not understand. Or tell her when she speaks like that your ears can’t hear.

Step 2: Drown them out with whiny pop music. This is extremely effective. On the whiny-music front, well there is so much to choose from, whiny richness abounding. Try Cocorosie, for example. They are exceptionally whiny half-Cherokee twins who recorded their first album in their bathtub in Paris. La Maison de Mon Reve is the album. They sound like strangled kittens. It’s really good. If you prefer your whining from men, pick men who want to be women, like Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. I Am A Bird Now, in which he bleats in falsetto about boys who yearn to be girls, is a far more melodic, poignant, and cerebral alternative to the wee one’s feeble but insistent chanting for snacks. If you prefer more of a low moan than a soprano whine then the British world is your oyster. Fine dour men abound in the UK, ranting and mumbling their sour stories and complaints in great variety. Tindersticks is my favorite. Stateside, Smog is pretty good for that sort of thing, especially the album Red Apple Falls where he gets all maudlin and hysterical about widows and fruit and horses. I have plenty recs should you need more. But I’d wager that one round of the squeaky chicks in their squeaky French tub and your needy squeaker will be shocked into silence.

Step 3: Oh, you know this one from the last post. Just spank it!

You will be amazed at the terrific results that come of curbing tot-whining from my 3 Simple Steps. Once you start, a marked improvement is guaranteed within one month or I shall send you a bottle of “cinnamon-toast-flavored” syrup from Kelloggs, which I have in my basement. (That’s right. Don’t ask me how it got there, just ask yourself why you would want a syrup for your cinnamon toast that is ITSELF cinnamon toast flavored. A sort of meta-syrup.) Also do not hesitate to try and drown out weird whine-oriented toddler pronunciation, such as “Deeeeedy” for Daddy and “You make me seeead” for “You make me sad.” I know it sounds mean, but it’s a proven fact that correcting pronunciation in the first three years of life can reduce whine output by 62%.

Warning: Don’t tell her “You’re driving me insane.” For she will simply take that one and fling it back to you whenever you drive them insane. Sometimes with a term of endearment attached, because some small people mistake terms of endearment for insults, viz. “You’re driving me insane, HONEY!”

Best of luck! And please do send me any additional Whine Management tips you think would help.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Spank My Baby One More Time

Britney is on everyone’s lips with her poor little weird head and antics but I don’t really have anything to say about Britney, I just gave my header a flavor of Brit to show that I am aware of misbehaving moms, whoever and wherever they may be.

But what I really wanted to mention is that California has decided to drop its move to make spanking one’s kids illegal, viz. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070223/ap_on_re_us/spanking_bill
Yay! Now I can move to California, which is one of the dreams I indulge in from time to time here in Wyoming. For a while, though, my dream was put aside what with Assemblywoman Sally Lieber and Arnie Schwarzenegger letting me know that tot-spanking would land my sorry bum in jail (where IT would likely be spanked by a big bay area dyke with keychain hanging off her jeans, no?).

WEAK HAND-FLAPS THAT DON’T DO MUCH OF ANYTHING
I admit it. Sometimes I spank Astrid. I am a Spankmommy. Do I “believe” in spanking? I don’t. I also don’t believe in wearing purple robes (or purple anything); nor do I believe in being mean to one’s really fantastic breadwinner husband; nor do I believe in eating lunch standing up, but these are all things that I do. And there are moments when I have and do spank Astrid, albeit not very effectively, with light taps on inward-arcing diapered bottom –the sort of weak hand-flaps that don’t do much of anything. But occasionally I slap a bare leg to sting. Occasionally I slap and mean it.

SPANK-WORTHY SCENARIOS
1.making as if to run in the road. = hard spank on leg. We live right on the road and this sort of spanking is when I feel no pain about inflicting pain.
Spanking scenario #2: we are having terrible trouble and have been for months with getting A to go to bed and stay in bed. We have tried it all: we plead, shout, reward, punish by taking things away (such as precious indispensable Baby Tony), cajole, soothe, and on and on and on it goes, night after night, out she comes, over and over and twenty times over…smiling, walking, crawling out of her bedroom. She is trying to break us. We know this. We know that one is meant to put them back in the bed without making eye contact even if that means doing it 20 times a night for two months. But we lose it often. And then one of us spanks. C’est ca. That is apparently who we are as parents, Michael and I. Other spanking scenes: sliding on ice in grocery parking lot, clutching baby who is hitting me in the face. This phase has thankfully come and gone, but when you are boiling in your winter jacket and your tot is doing a weird j-move under your arm, about to kill herself and you, you might just be like me and…lose your temper. Or as we say in South Africa, you give a "blimming good hiding."

Back to the proposed smacking ban of Sally Lieber, and Arnold Schwarzenegger who apparently supported it: I understand the root of the law is to protect abused children from their abusive belt-walloping moms and dads, but when I hear "California to Ban Spanking," I am sorry, it just makes my hand itch. I want to paddle somebody’s bottom. Like being in a no-smoking bar makes me IMMEDIATELY wish to smoke two cigarettes at the same time, like Bill Murray on the diving board in Rushmore. And especially with regard to Arnie, if I were him, I too would not spank my kids. I wouldn’t need to. Just looking at Dad if dad is Arnold Schw. must surely be akin to being spanked, given that Dad is the Terminator.

MANDATORY SPANKING IN CALIFORNIA
But frankly, I am relieved that the law isn’t going to go through, and not just because I like to think I will be welcome in San Francisco. It’s because I think pretty much everyone in California could use a good spanking, including silly governors and assemblypeeps. Come on, Californians need to be spanked. They ask for it. And we all know what they are like when they don’t get it. In fact I think they should make a law that says that everyone in California should be spanked at least once. Mandatory spanking in California. Because California may be cool and great and beautiful and full of wise tolerant people and organic farming and so forth, but I think a little tiny slap or two is just the ticket to balance everyone out and make the place yin-yang perfect.

Anyhoo, I am just glad that now I don’t have to love Wyoming again. Babyslapper that I am, I can go back to my fantasies about heading westward to cool cities where people actually listen to music as opposed to turning on the satellite TV for music -- and don’t go out to evening dinners in puffy pink Cloudveil "shells" (light skiwear, for those who aren’t in the know).

SOMETIMES TODDLERS ARE VERY SELF-CONTROLLED
Okay. So tongue out of cheek for a moment. Do I think I am a good parent for spanking Astrid on those nights when I do? I feel horrible. I know I am setting a double-standard. I tell her we don’t hit our friends or our mommies but Mommy can sometimes hit Astrid. Even though it makes Mommy “berry berry sad” (yes, I’m one of those who talk to them as they talk to me). But the truth is, while I know I am being a bit shite in this arena of child-rearing it all comes back to the lazy impatient self that I am. I have not evolved as a mom, at least not yet. I just can’t do what Astrid is asking of me; namely, resist the urge to deal with her in the short-term, which will in turn have long-term benefits. But I am a short-term type. Whereas Astrid is all about patience and control and self-discipline, even though she is only two. Witness how she deals with her treats: she gets one gummi bear every day for potty-related matters. She receives it, sniffs it, then tucks it into her hot little fist for HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS. Sometimes she nests it between her toes. Or puts the gummi beneath a tiny scrap of fabric and lets it take a nap. Does she eat it? Eventually, when we tell her we will either take it or she must eat it because it is time to clean teeth.

As for me, I am the opposite. If there are gummi bears around I will eat the whole bag instantly in one sitting, even if my teeth-holes hurt (and they always do); even if my jaw sort of locks and I feel ill. In they go. On and on.

Thusly do I conclude, with irony: sometimes toddlers are very self-controlled and deliberate and and sometimes their moms are the opposite. What to do when one’s toddler is very self-controlled? Why, whack her apparently, you out-of-control momster! And that's where we are, in this house. On a bad night, we go through the motions of trying to solve problems non-violently until Mom or Dad snaps. The toddler gets spanked. Everyone is berry sad. Then we all go to sleep and hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Banana Condom Revisited

I just can't get enough of the banana condom, especially the following text from the "Banana Bunker" website, which tells us something about the product creator:

"Paul is a tremendously creative individual, with a focus on Product Design accumulating over 9 patents over the last few years on products for the house wares industry. The most successful of those products is the Banana Bunker, which will transform the way individuals will treat his or her own diet, allowing consumers to eat healthier. Even in this fast paced economy, these products create the possibility of eating fresh fruit whenever the consumer wishes."

What the hell does the economy have to do with putting a dildo on a banana, Paul? You are tremendously creative though. No question about that. And I love that you have a real goal in life: to "create the possibility of eating fresh fruit whenever the consumer wishes." Syntax aside, you've really nailed a gap in the market, Paul. Up until now -- with the advent of your banana sheath -- the consumer just hasn't had access the possibility of eating fresh fruit whenever the consumer wishes. But all that is changing as we speak. FINALLY!

More non-banana-related posts to come, I assure you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Lunchbox Banana Condom

Imagine sending your child off to school with one of these in his lunchbox: http://bananabunker.com/

When he is expelled from school for bringing sex toys, or when he is BRUTALLY MOCKED, at least he can say, "My banana is fresher than yours!"

Back at home, Mum rests easy knowing she has packed the absolute best lunch, in the best possible way. Love is... a fresh banana. Super!

Thanks to Adrianne for the link.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Bosom Buddies: Tit-illation in Lactation Nation

Sometimes I am glad to be far from the sophisticated urban lacto-jungle that is my former home, Brooklyn, NYC.

Apparently a spot of boob-sharing (nursing your pal's tot) is on for one Brooklyn writer and her breast friend:
http://www.babble.com/content/articles/features/personalessays/baumgardner/breastfriends/
I am sorry to, once again, have to trash some Babble.com person but this chick and her pal who nurse each other's babies for kicks (or as they call, it, "bonding") make me want to button up their bosoms on their behalf. Being a Victorian occasionally feels chic. This is one of those moments.

Please do read the piece. And the comments are equally icky, supportive and open-minded as they are. Bah humbug, i say to the mom who says "it's the way it's been done for thousands of years." So this is rationale for boob-swinging -- that it is an old tradition of sorority or somesuch that's gone on since boob immemorial. Whaa?! OK, I don't really bloody know a thing about it, but I highly doubt any wet nurse tradition had anything to do with female bonding. I think it had more to do with a time, long ago, not so much BC as BMPIS (Before Medela Pump In Style) where one mom had to be out in a distant field harvesting grains while another mom put nip to that mom's babe. Or else wet-nursing was a paid job, or a slave job in Roman times or whatever. But a bonding thing? As for providing much needed nurture for your friend's baby -- Lady, your friend is RIGHT THERE next to you (and nursing your son!). She's not on her deathbed, incapacitated, out of feeding commission. She's not even plucking grains in a field, fergodssake.

What bug me most about this is the notion that the babies' basic need for nourishment is put to service for the way-intricate subtleties of their moms' friendship, tots unwittingly suckled by mom's best friend so that the moms can get something out of it. That's manipulative. Moms teat aint available for her own baby; only for someone else's. Seems a bit mommy-selfish to me. That said, I am the queen of mom selfishness so maybe I should like these gals after all.

And then we are supposed to also buy that it is a sisterly vibe these moms feel one to the other? The writer has a book out on bisexuality. Chances are, she's ogling her friends knockers during this lacto-fest, eh?

I am also not endeared by the writer because her son is named Skuli. Please. I know my kid has a Scando name but Skuli...? That sounds like a high chair.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine’s Daycare

I used to heart daycare.

But today I hate it. Almost as much as I will hate myself tomorrow for sending my tot, Astrid, off to daycare, armed with a dozen individual Valentines treats in small bags along with dollar-store Valentines cards addressed to two-year-olds who haven’t the foggiest what this day is all about.

I don’t either know what this day is about: after twelve years of living in the US, it still mystifies me. Where I come from (South Africa) Valentine’s Day was always a day reserved expressly for romance. You did not give Valentines to your mother, mom-in-law, or to small people in pull-ups or their friends. You did not give Valentines blandly, to just pals, in some happy, all-inclusive goodwill gesture, bleeding the day of its lust. Valentine’s Day was all about major crushes and red-hot love. You gave a Valentine card to your heart’s desire, or maybe you gave two or three if you were feeling especially promiscuous. But all in the name of passion. And unless you were married to your Valentine, the card was anonymous. I still remember receiving a Valentine at fifteen, unsigned, a boy’s painful handwriting in blue ball point, the writing squared off at the bottom, from what must have been a ruler to keep the scrawl straight: from…Guess Who? I never did guess and that always represented the fun of Valentine’s Day to me, a secret and sly holiday where for once you could come out and say something you had been hiding all year long. Now it’s the opposite. You come out and say to anyone, everywhere what people say daily anyway; namely, “I love you.” (And you and you. All of you.)

WHAT MADE ME SO PEPPERY
But back to what made me so peppery and ticked off in the first place: exchanging Valentines at daycare. For Chrissake, is this really necessary?

When I fetched Astrid on Monday, a staffmember in her classroom (The Blazing Comets) asked me whether I wanted to “do something” for Valentine’s day. She explained that some Comet moms got “really into it” and put together cards and treats in all sorts of inspiring combinations for their child’s various lovers. She also said that I didn’t “have to” do anything if I didn’t want to. In other words, she gave me a choice. So what did I do? Did I tell her that I think giving Valentines to toddlers is stupid, and a waste of time and money – time and money being the key reasons my child is in daycare three days a week to begin with? Did I tell I think it’s ludicrous and sort of sinister to involve innocent children in a day historically designated for romance? Did I say, “OK, I’ll pass.” I did not. I had one of those weird, false reactions. When she asked me if I wanted to bring Valentines for Tanner, Tyler, Teirje (?), Riley, Olivia, Jose, Delany, and company, I said – brightly -- ‘Sure!”

THAT FISHY LITTLE ANCHOVY TIN
What was I thinking, people? I don’t know. But this is not the first time that I have had strong opinions but appallingly weak reactions to things child-related. In fact, I often seem to find myself aggressively possessed of opinion and high-minded criticism yet when push comes to shove, I fail to produce the appropriate reaction. I cave and say something stupid and agreeable and don’t-let’s-rock-the-boat-ish. I feel as though child-rearing is like my approach to recycling. I get very high minded about it all conceptually and in fact spend a lot of time fuming over the environment and washing out my Cento tomatoes tins and judging anyone who doesn’t, but occasionally, inexplicably, I lack the follow-through and just, you know, throw that little fishy anchovy tin in the regular trash. Because I am basically a hypocrite.

DIVVY UP A WHITMAN’S SAMPLER
And now I am to be punished for it. By the end of today I must prepare the Valentines, utilizing crap red cards, using my time to spell those names, and raping the enviro once again via tiny cellophane bags into which I shall ladle teaspoonfuls of heart-shaped candy stamped with cheeky flirtational slogans…or maybe I shall divvy up a Whitman’s Sampler and do choccy bags instead? Why am I even thinking about this! Why would I do this?

I do not know. On Monday, the minute I had agreed to participating in the day’s ritual nonsense, I wanted to stop and say “actually, maybe I won’t.” But by the time I came to my senses, Jessica the daycare worker was already busily writing me a list of names of the kids. So maybe I must do this so as to not make her efforts in vain? Maybe because now that I have said yes saying no seems even weirder than it would have in the first place?

Or maybe I can still make my sincerest statement – send Astrid in tomorrow with nothing at all. I’m not yet sure quite what I will do, but I have to decide by the end of this post; that’s what I am deciding. Which means I have to further unpick the V-Day thing and get to the bottom of what it all means to me.

I DON’T TELL MY CHILD THAT I LOVE HER
If I am to be remotely true to what I believe I will of course shirk the Valentines altogether. I don’t believe in the candy, nor the idea behind exchanging it with every child in your daycare class (because everyone is special yes, and Astrid is meant to love all of them equally I suppose). Both the candy and the message are evil and have no place in my child’s Comet cubby hole. But I am not sure people will get this at my daughter’s Wyoming daycare. This is not New York. And even if it were, I am sure not all of my sentiments – or lack thereof – would find sympathy, because…when I really get down to it, I see that this issue goes deeper than the stupidity of Valentine exchanges among children. It goes to the heart (oof-pun.) of what I feel about love. Here’s the clincher: I don’t tell my child I love her. I didn’t tell her that today and I won’t be telling her that tomorrow on Valentine’s Day. Partly this is cultural. Having grown up in a stiff-upper-lip culture we just didn’t throw that phrase around, so I feel strange saying it, cold commonwealth fish that I am. (Note: This doesn’t mean I don’t say, “You are Mommy’s love” or “you are my precious” or a multitude of other ick-sweet nothings on a constant basis. But I don’t say “I love you”). Mainly my reason for NOT saying “I love you” is that this goes without saying. Of course I love her. And she knows that because I make it apparent to her, at least some of the time, by being her mother. However, when this phrase is so appallingly ever-present, bandied about throughout a person’s given day, bold sentiments dashed off by near-strangers, by friends, in-laws, whatever, then why bother using it with the ones you really love?

I think the occasion for “I love yous” should be rare and romantic. Reserved for one’s romantic love and said without frequency, perhaps once or twice a year. Like on Valentine’s Day.

FORCED DISCUSSIONS ABOUT TODDLER ROMANCE
Back to her Comet cohorts, I think it’s completely absurd and repulsive to dish out declarations of friendship and love on Astrid’s behalf especially when in most cases those feelings are patently not there. She does not “love” boys – or other girls -- on demand. (Yet I find myself sometimes engaged in those asinine forced discussions about toddler romance with other moms, where we speak of their son as “ a real little heartbreaker” and of how maybe we can have “an arranged marriage” with my daughter. God, what is that about? For one thing it's just such a cliche.Yet, I have participated in such talk, certainly, double-standard setter that I am. It’s true that I sometimes, cringe-worthily, refer to certain little boys as Astrid’s “boyfriend.” (But only the really cute ones, of course.)

BLOW OFF THE WHOLE RUBBISHY THING
While I recognize the sham of these various impulses in me – to go along with some gag-inducing thing I feel no connection to – it seems I haven’t yet figured out how not to engage in pukeworthy rituals with toddlers and their mothers. When a mom indulges in that sort of “romantic future of our children” talk with me, I go along -- perhaps I have even initiated it myself. And when a daycare worker suggests Astrid hand over candy stamped with “Be Mine” or “Yes, Dear” to a group of tiny uncomprehending illiterates, I say “Sure!”

Or do I? I’m still not sure what I will end up doing. I want to blow off the whole rubbishy thing. But my anal superficial obedient self is telling me to go to the dollar store and pick up those ‘tines, cuz I told the teacher that I would.

Will she or won’t she?

Stay tuned, for all shall be revealed…on the morrow…

p.s. this post was written yesterday but I had connection probs so I posted it today. the short answer before i go and get lobsters ready for tonight's din-dins: no, I didn't bring Valentines for the wee ones. But not because I stood form. Bascially because of my car. not worht explanation. suffice to say i did not bring them after all. yay!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Crib Envy

Having a child has made me a shallower person.

Here’s an anecdote by way of example:
Recently the NY Times announced a new online magazine, babble.com, for hip ironic parents, a magazine ostensibly showcasing people talking about parenthood with a no-holds-barred honesty, telling it like it really is, with lashings of bleak humor and risque self-analyses and uncomfortable truths and so forth. Sounds promising, thinks I. Cut to said magazine where on its inaugural page one may click on videos of new parents dishing it like it really is. I am picturing people who look like me: in a purple robe, teeth yellowed by too much coffee, general dishevelment abounding, a flotilla of wadded diapers spilling out of the bin in the background.

But what I find first is the founding eds (who are married to each other), adorable dad and an astonishingly svelte and lovely cool-glass-of-milk-type mom, dandling upon the knee their tot, himself a veritable union of tasteful genes. The parents interrupt one another cutely as a couple, in their eager bid to share the experience of new parenthood with the viewer – a desire to speak candidly, which is the supposed point of the video. And what of the hardship of being new parents? In between the obligatory mention of sleep deprivation by a very much non-sleep-deprived-looking dad, they issue such candid and risque soundbytes as "you fall in love with them more each day" and "Declan has added a whole new color to our rainbow" -- cut to Declan frolicking tastefully beside is it…? Is it? I think it IS – A Stokke crib.

DAVID NETTO WINKS AT ME FROM CYBERSPACE
Okay. So this really tweaks my vibe. Call me jealous -- I am jealous! and freely admit it -- but these peeps need to zip it. Don't talk to me about new colors in your rainbow from your hipster loft perch with its fabulous Minimalist baby accoutrements, such as the Stokke crib, bountiful indeed, but oh-so-pricey!

Yes, the Modernist Minimalist Urban Parent scene bugs me hugely, as I sit here in my purple robe. MMUPs have the Stokke crib. Or else, the Babble.com-endorsed designer David Netto's streamlined crib. And I say to these types, Don’t tell me you feel so fulfilled on a deeper level when you can fork out the cash to buy your bassinet from a chap who winks at me from cyberspace, arms folded, chicness radiating from his kelly-green tee and navy blazer ensemble http://babble.com/content/articles/columns/davidnetto/001/. Call me shallow – I am shallow! – but let me tell it to you like it really is: it’s a bloody side harder to be a parent when you have to look at ugly baby furniture. At least that’s how I see it from my bloody-unfabulous perch. And I recognize that this makes me a snippy and low-caliber person for saying so, but sad to say, this is the level of evolvement I am at. Apparently, having a perfect baby is meant to make me count my blessings but instead it has made me want perfect baby furniture. And want it, I do.

YOUR STUFF IS NICER THAN MINE
When I first got pregnant and was fretting the finances, a wealthy friend told me, "Kids don't need money; they just need love." True, but as many a poor parent has discovered, kids might not need the money, but mom and dad do. We do a lot better with it than without. And don't tell me that stuff doesn't matter when your stuff is nicer than mine. How would you know? Seeing the charming Babble couple being so charming to their child and each other – this makes me wonder whether perhaps I too might not be more charming to my child and to my husband were we, too, blessed by a Stokke crib. Or a bent-birch-clad Netto-pod in our pea’s bedroom. Or even forget the cribs. Just the high chair.
I mean of course the Stokke highchair.

How I wanted that high chair, so tasteful, so practical. So $200, though. So instead we made what turned out to be a fatal error. We bought the infinitely cheaper and more hideous Eddie Bauer , which is literally emblazoned with the words Eddie Bauer in a sort of looping cursive brand into the wood. “Wood!” we thought "at least it's wood so it won't be as ugly as the rest.” But this was not the truth. It is almost uglier than the plastic ones, because it is pretending to be nicer looking than it really is. And the Eddie Bauer scripted logo…I tried to cover it with a witty decal, but it is truly and proudly etched into the chair…ugh!

Back to the Babble soundbyte I suspect the reason that Declan's mom looks so happy and serene has a lot to do with the fact that D may just be experiencing a Scandinavian-inflected childhood. Granted I can’t see much beyond the video frame but I suspect there are other nifty utilitarian and eye-pleasing furnishings, totally attractive garments, and I'll take a bet, a Stokke highchair too to match the Stokke crib, which I might add starts at some-700 greenbacks. In some ways the happiness of Declan's parental unit makes me feel bad about myself; in other ways it makes me feel better about myself, for since seeing this video I have concluded that I should blame many of my foul-humored cross-patch impatient mommy moments not on myself, but on the Eddie Bauer high chair.

WHAT MOTHERHOOD IS LIKE WITH AN EDDIE BAUER HIGH CHAIR:
Sample scenario: It’s meal time and my toddler flicks mashed potato into her lap while on the EB.
Mom: “Look what you’ve done!” (cross face) Bends to try and push mash-blob from between jail-bars of wood chair, an intricate maze of knotty pine at the seat. Find mash ball and smear further between bars in effort to extract. “Dammit!”
Tot: “Dammit!”

Later: Mom chips hardened mash out a knot in the knotty pine of the EB. She is resentful. And takes it out on Dad.

WHAT MOTHERHOOD MIGHT HAVE BEEN LIKE WITH THE STOKKE HIGH CHAIR:
Sample scenario: It’s meal time and toddler flicks mashed potato into her lap.
Mom: “ Oopsy!” (laughing) Reaches to wipe away the mash ball, easily accessed by dint of the Stokke’s graceful elemental form. A placid contented-mother smile flashes at my lips. Mash easily accessed and wiped off mint-green Stokke surface. Meal continues in an exemplification of family togetherness. Dad arrives home in time to see mom and baby share a moment of playful, uninhibited, good-for-sensory-development mash smearing. Smear with abandon, little one! No harm done. It comes right off!


I HAVE BEEN SO MEAN-SPIRITED
OK, so the rest of the Babble web site has some good stuff on it. There are some funny essays. Let’s give these people a chance. I am starting to feel bad. And need to issue and apology. Sorry Babble co-founders and Declan that I have been so mean-spirited about and to you. It's not your fault you are attractive and have nice gear. It's not your fault that some person in Wyoming is pissy in a purple robe and takes it out on you, but don’t you see, this is what happens when you have crap furniture. It changes who you are. Aesthetics are not superficial. I would be much nicer, much happier, and definitely a better mom if I had your shit. But this is what becomes of people who buy the Eddie Bauer highchair – they turn whiny and covet your crib.

Yes indeedy, the EB is the start of a slippery slope toward total house ugliness and parental despair. Start with the EB and next thing you know you will have an Exersaucer in your living room and think nothing about using it as a tray for snacks at your next grownup dinner party. And from Exersaucer it’s just one short step to having that plastic brown and blue slide-tree house-combo thing next to the Exersaucer. Permanently.

So, prospective new parents, pony up the extra cash. Get the Stokke ! For God’s sake. Or you shall rue the day. And if you can find the $1000-plus, get the Netto-crib too. Reason with yourself: after all, you paid the same amount to the doula and she didn't even make it in time for the birth. Seriously, from what I can see Netto is a far better and more lasting investment.
But why is he winking?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The sound of my own voice...

...is, on paper, rather a nice thing to me, and this new blog will give me another venue for my bleatings about life as a mom. As a grass-is-greener kind of mom (who often envies her babe-less pals) and a glass-is-really-very-close-to-empty sort of gal, it is only natural for me to complain at length about momhood, even though I have a most excellent tot by any standards and a darned good hubby too.

But that is not the point. The point is to mewl as much as poss about being a mother so that I can keep myself from losing it completely. I have a giant wad of info on my computer in a folder labeled All Things Baby and I've been planning to turn the mush into bloggishness for a long time. Plans to put on here: the blackly humorous, the uncomfortable, the taboo tidbits and bits o'wisdom gleaned from being a self-absorbed 35-year-old who got knocked up 2 years ago, and has spent the time since then slavishly devoted to a bounteous infant who -- deliciousness notwithstanding -- has totally derailed my career and prevented me from buying fetching frocks for the foreseeable future.

Example of glass-almost-empty sort of mindset: A few years ago, my dream was to find a swell and rampantly appealing on all fronts man, mate with him and produce a spawn. All happened. After innumerable misfirings and datings of the wrong sort (alcoholic carpenters and schizophrenic actors always come to mind), I finally met the man on the subway in New York City, went out with him for a year and half, and promptly got knocked up. Even though the baby was unplanned, said swell and rampantly appealing on all fronts man (seriously, the best possible guy) ponied up the support, physical, emotional, financial. We got married: I had a fetching frock; we had a party involving marzipan and cherry blossoms and friends...

We have it blissfully bloody lucky and obviously I know it. So why am I constructing a blog entirely devoted to bitching? Because it is in my nature to crane my neck during such moments and wonder what is on the other side of the abyss that is new parenthood. The lack of money, time; the plethora of tedious moments that in fact comprise an equal if not bulk portion of motherhood...these lead my mind off in wandering directions, making me eager to dish dirt and get a sour taste in the mouth. All that sticky sweetness, the insufferable candy-floss cloud that collects around moms, moms individually, moms in groups, nobody says anything really outrageous (at least not here where we live, a vale of wealth and health and optimism).

Gawd!

OK, so I promise to be posting and uploading funny sorts of carping, not pure carping for carping's sake, thought hat in itself is surely a worthy enterprise too --carping for the sake of it. A good whine so energizing.

Right. Got to finish. Not always so long-winded. Let's go to bullets:

--will be ranting about so-called hip ironic parents (see that new web site Babble) and their bloody bent-birch plywood modernist bassinets. I envy and loathe you. If I had had a bloody David Netto-furnished baby room and a Stokke high chair, god only knows how happy I could have been as a new mother...Stay tuned.
--will be ranting about my incredible laziness and refusal to take my child to swimming lessons. Screw swimming. Why is everyone obsessed with swimming in this town. Swimming babies and your mothers leave me alone!
--will be posting not merely useless complaints but also useFUL lists. Many handy tips and helpful lists of things such as the best baby presents. A prefview: screw the Haba spinning top and the Tiny Love Gym and the hipster Ugly Doll felt dog-thing. Give the gifts that every mom can really use: for instance a box of the sorts of things infants really like to play with --Ajaxy sponge, a tampon, an Oxo salad spinner!
--will be posting a piece about how I nearly went mad last winter when I was a fulltime mom, and how I saved myself (and my child) from myself by enlisting the help of -- who else! -- some trusty Mormons, who know a thing or two about offspring. (All in good time.)
--last: an admission -- I DO have a stash of cute comments uttered by my unbearably cute little muffin of a 2-yr-old and I may resort to using a few of them on this blog every now and then if things cant dangerously close to a Brooke-Shieldsy-sort of angle. If I do use adorable comments to round out the bitterness of the blog, I promise that the comments will be entirely original, 100% funny, and devoid of dull or precocious or manipulated sentiment.

Hope someone is out there. (I am not sure if I have the guts to tell my friends about this site...afraid it will censor me). So IF someone is out there --

--Keep complaining!

-Crabmommy