Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I read too much

Since I read too much, and it doesn't look like I'll ever come up with an idea to write something myself...I've been told that I should comment on books I've read, and books that I recommend. That it will give me a purpose, this blog a purpose, and perhaps be a little less boring. (Though, I definitely can't say that for sure.) I still have time to read since my home looks like a college apartment (complete with the slipcover sofas and clothes strewn all over the bedrooms--I know which are clean and which are dirty) and my kids really like take-out (Indian, sushi, and Thai are their favorites).

So, recently, I've been reading the early oeuvre of Katie Fforde and Madeleine Wickham (aka Sophie Kinsella). First, Fforde: I don't know if it's the fact that I'm reading the novels in the original British, but I have to ask: why is it that the female narrators always think that their romantic interests are angry enough to rape them? And then, why after that, do the characters always in fact have some kind of sexual interaction? This really kept me from just enjoying her works as the good fun that they are. It was also difficult to read about women who always need rescuing from men. (The same men who look angry enough to rape.) Comparisons to Jane Austen's world aren't really justified. An angry Mr. Darcy or Mr. Knightley certainly didn't inspire even a quake in an Austen heroine. Realistically, it was pretty clear that even Fforde's narrators didn't believe that they were about to be raped; but, it demonstrated how lightly both the characters and the author was taking the word. Believable or not, it was a distracting enough word to have in a light-hearted novel in which the poor-but-deserving "girl" was finally going to get her (usually older) man. As much as I may have enjoyed the books otherwise (for what they are--let's face, as undiscriminating as I can be, I do recognize what's "good" and what's really good), I was put off by this, and wonder if I can attribute it to the books being written over 10 years ago...but sounding as they they were written more like 25 years ago.

Madeleine Wickham. Ah, I should start by saying that I think the Shopaholic novels were really, really stupid. Yet, I went out and bought every single one, a few even in hardback. I admit it. I sold some on Amazon, and others I passed to my stepfather. So, even in my irritation, I wanted to read this fluff to see what would happen. Wickham's first book, The Tennis Party is beyond stupid. Please don't read this book. The characters are impossible to keep straight. The plot is straight out of an '80s trash novel (not by a famous author like a Danielle Steele, for instance). I couldn't imagine how, someone born in 1969, could have written something (in her 20s!) that reads like something a middle-aged woman would have written.  The Swimming Pool is almost equally inane, with a litigious plot out of the 1980s as well.  

Ok, this is a pretty old post, and my son needs to take a nap, so here it goes!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Kids' Thank You Notes

Squirmy just turned 6.  She has no appreciation, no concern, doesn't take anything seriously, and could truly care less whether she has a party again or even receives gifts again.  It is so disappointing to have this be my child, age 6.  I love her, despite her rudeness.  Yet, how to get a kid who obviously does not care at all to write notes?  We're not talking Emily Post notes, either.  We're talking, thank you for the ____ being the one sentence in there.  She claims she can't do it, yet managed just fine for one of her best friends.  Her writing is such gibberish.  It's a nice day outside, and we'll happily sit inside all day along. I don't care.  

I can't begin to count the number of notes I've written on her behalf since she was born, even writing some as her ghostwriter (which I guess is very tacky, but hard not to do if I don't even know the kids' parents).  I have read (and confirmed at the card store) that a 6-year-old who knows how to write and is learning to read must write his or her own basic note--that's what's done, and what's expected.

She started crying, because I yelled a little bit as she was being so irritating in her lack-of-concern, I'm so funny, ha, ha, making a joke out of the whole thing.  I actually thought that tears would be better than silliness.  In no way does she actually CARE though.  Tears don't mean caring.  Tears mean that she's upset that I'm not coddling her and letting her watch TV or go play with friends or do whatever else she'd rather be doing.

She was like this after visiting a food pantry as well, having the nerve to complain that she was "starving", proving that she learned nothing about the children who don't have enough food to eat on a daily basis.

In many ways, this makes me question my mothering techniques!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm Not Pregnant, Just Fat (I guess!)

I feel like I get more than my fair share share of: "when are you due"?  "are you expecting"?  "Well, you LOOK pregnant..."  "Really?  I was so sure you were?"

I had a whole post written, but I feel like this really speaks for itself!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Witching Hour

The kids are bugging me--a lot.  It's the time of day, I know it is (the post-school, pre-dinner, I'm-hungry-I-want-to-watch-TV-even-though-I'm-not-allowed-on-school-nights angst).  My problem as well.  I'm tired (less due to nursing at night, actually--things seem to be improving on that front) due to TWO birthday parties for Squirmy and late nights making cupcakes and frosting.  So, we're all exhausted.

I have to remind myself about Sleepless in America--a very illuminating book by Mary Kurcinka.  Basically, it says that kids misbehave when they haven't had enough sleep, but that we can't deal with them when we haven't had enough sleep either.  So, our afternoon today, which involves my kids being needy and whiny--and me yelling.  Very nice.  Perhaps I'll make sure that we all get to sleep earlier tonight.  Now, the kids are in a restorative bath.  I hope that they'll be relaxed and happy for dinner, which should make me happier and calmer as well. 

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Limited Profile Access Only

Recently, I joined Facebook.  I really didn't know that it was for people over 30, and then some friends were talking about how they were recent subscribers. Anyway, it's pretty fun.  I'm gradually tracking down friends and family (and they are doing the same to me). 

One such cousin, who tracked down a mutual cousin, recently joined.  I saw his name when he was added to my other cousin's friend list.  I thought, wow, I haven't seen him since my grandmother's funeral almost two years ago, and it was a long time before that as well.  I sent a "friend" message, and was "added" successfully.  I was added, however, with limited profile access.  What is that supposed to mean?  Do his friends not want to be known?  Does he not want his friends to be known by others?  Or, does it mean that a first cousin, once removed status doesn't equate to full profile access?  At most, I suppose I'd drop a line if we were going to be in the city where he lives so it doesn't really matter. 

Still, I have to admit to being a bit offended by this--I can't help it.  I know my cousin remembers me (given that my deceased father, a most favorite member of the family, was his mom's nephew).  But, it is entirely possible that my cousin being...gasp...over 40...doesn't actually know how to use Facebook yet.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nursing at Night

Nursing is awesome.  For me (someone who'd never even changed a diaper), it was what instantly connected me to my daughter when she was a baby.  (Aside from the look she gave me shortly after she was born like she already knew everything there was to know about me--and everything else, for that matter...)  When she turned one, I knew that I'd nurse her until she was at least two.  She last nursed when she was three (though she'd essentially weaned a few months before that).

Now, for my son.  The boob-man.  Whose face, as a newborn, contained an expression of awe and amazement (wondrous appreciation?) when I saw him notice that there were two breasts, not just one. I knew that I would plan to nurse him also until two--at least.  (A Jewish law thing, actually, which, when my daughter was one, I researched to tell my in-laws when the inevitable questions about nursing toddlers arose.)

So, my son is still going strong at 2.9.  I'm probably not having any other kids.  He's my baby, literally.  I do wish that I could figure out what it is that makes him sleep so unsoundly, even at this age.  Possibilities: (1) he is teething his last molar; (2) he has a food sensitivity (possible, since he is not a big eater though nursing has made him big); (3) he, too, is moving into another winter illness post-flu; or (4) he's just really determined.  It may be a combination of all of them.  

I'm interested in seeing how this plays out over time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Winter illness

We've been going to the pediatrician a lot lately.  

First, my daughter had strep.  She had not-the-typical symptoms.  Specifically, she had such a bad stomachache that we thought she had appendicitis.  We went to the ER on a Saturday afternoon where...they said it "didn't look like strep" because her throat wasn't red and she didn't have a fever.  (By the way, she started running a fever while she was there.)  My daughter went through lots of other fun things (urine test, an x-ray, and a blood test).  Then, they gave her an IV because she was "vomiting" (she threw up exactly once in the morning--this was eight hours later, and she even ate potato chips in the waiting room).  Their conclusion?  Stomach bug.  I didn't agree.  When I asked for a flu test I was told: "I'm not in the business of swabbing kids' noses for flu".

Anyway, after a very draggy day at school several days later (she had no fever, so she went to school), we find out that she had strep all along.  Great work, ER.  

Less than a week after finishing the antibiotics for strep, my daughter was diagnosed with the flu.  Husband was next, then my son, then me.  Fun for the whole family!  

No, we did not get flu shots.  But, that is another story for another post.  Suffice it to say: the flu shot was ineffective this year anyway as it did not include the "A" strain that we likely had (I know the kids had Influenza A for sure), and many of the people coming down with the flu this year were in fact vaccinated.  There were plenty of articles on-line about how this year's vaccine did not match the viruses that are out there.  So, please remember that when your first question to somebody isn't "how are you?", but "didn't you have flu shots?"  I realize the question comes from a place of fear--they want to hear that we didn't have shots so that they can assure themselves that they won't get the flu because they were vaccinated.  I hear that--I've been there myself in the past.

Anyway, yesterday, we were back to the pediatrician as my daughter has strep--AGAIN.  Not the same as she had a strep test the day of her flu test so we know the original strep was gone.  This time her throat looks disgusting.  If she'd even admitted that her throat hurt originally, and I had looked in there, I would have seen that there was something up with that throat!  She's going to be living on probiotics and Vitamin C for the next 10 days.  I hope we get out of this illness kick very soon!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Election irritations

I am annoyed that Hillary Clinton can call for the resignation of an adviser from Barack Obama's team.  Why is that even possible?  Why does the Obama team need to listen to her? Also, I'm frustrated that the Clintons can talk about how Obama would make a great running mate.  I don't believe this brings the party together.  How many Democrats don't like both candidates?  What a great compromise, is what many will think.  I admit there's an appeal to a ticket with both names.  But, with Obama leading in delegates, I think it's an unfair method of attacking his campaign.  It's demeaning and condescending.  If Obama was the same age as Clinton and did that to her, it would be deemed sexist.

What bothers me the most is that my "independent" husband is getting more and more smug about his choice to vote for John McCain.  (He voted for Clinton, Clinton, Gore, and Kerry--now, he's going to be a Republican--which I've said he is all along, by the way--but, why now?  He even likes Obama.)