Thursday, May 29, 2008

Okay, okay...

You've reminded me that yes, in general the clothing options for girls ARE a lot more varied than for boys. (Although, we hardly ever put her in the cute rompers and rarely in dresses--again, not so practical for grubbing around on the concrete.) We can all debate whether the pink princess shit is better or worse than the endless sports/transportation/pirates/etc. at some other time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Random rant

Why is it that shorts for little girls are all SHORT, as in barely cover the diaper, while shorts for little boys can easily be found in a sensible knee length? My kid is just as active a toddler as any boy. She likes to run and climb and explore, and she frequently falls down, because one falls down when one is careening at top speed on short little legs. Maybe if we had a backyard with perfect velvety grass, this would be OK to do in short shorts, but our outside time happens in the public park, where there are giant rocks to climb and big knobby stumps to explore and big expanses of asphalt outside concrete-lined sand pits. If she were wearing any of the little cutie-pie shorts we've been given as hand-me-downs, she would have both legs scraped bloody and raw EVERY DAY. Why can't you buy cute LONG shorts designed for girls? Why do most places have, at most, one or two cropped pants for girls but a million options for roll-up cargo pants and carpenter shorts and all sorts of practical things for boys?

Hmph. Off to buy shorts in the boys' department.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Lest I forget...

Two years ago this holiday weekend, we made a baby.

It turned out pretty well for us, don't you think?

[Photo removed for privacy purposes. Sorry!]


Friday, May 23, 2008

Nerd meme

I swiped this meme from Jody--basically, it's a list of the top 100 books marked "unread" by LibraryThing users. You're supposed to bold ones you've read, underline ones you've read for school, and italicize ones you started but didn't finish. But since I have so much overlap between books I've read for pleasure and ones I read for school (English major with a focus on the 19th century novel, anyone?), I'm going to bold everything I've read, italicize ones I started but didn't finish, and underline ones I'm pretty sure I've read at least part of but can't really remember. Other notes as warranted.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell [sitting on my shelf uncracked]
Anna Karenina
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Crime and Punishment
Wuthering Heights

The Silmarillion
Don Quixote
The Odyssey

The Brothers Karamazov
Ulysses [but did I enjoy it or remember anything about it? NO]
War and Peace
Madame Bovary
A Tale of Two Cities
Jane Eyre

The Name of the Rose
Moby Dick
The Iliad
Vanity Fair
Love in the Time of Cholera

The Blind Assassin
Pride and Prejudice
The Historian: A Novel [sitting on my bookshelf untouched]
The Canterbury Tales
The Kite Runner [ keeps trying to get me to buy this]
Great Expectations
Life of Pi [another one Amazon recommendations keeps pushing]
The Time Traveler's Wife
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Atlas Shrugged
Foucault's Pendulum

The Grapes of Wrath
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Mrs. Dalloway
Sense and Sensibility

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Sound and The Fury
Memoirs of a Geisha
Brave New World

American Gods
The Poisonwood Bible
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

The Picture of Dorian Gray
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The Satanic Verses
Mansfield Park
Gulliver's Travels

The Three Musketeers
The Inferno
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Fountainhead
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
To the Lighthouse

A Clockwork Orange
Robinson Crusoe
The Scarlet Letter

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Once and Future King
Anansi Boys
The God of Small Things
[I think I finished this one...]
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Oryx and Crake
Angela's Ashes

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In Cold Blood
Lady Chatterley's Lover

A Confederacy of Dunces
Les Misérables
The Amber Spyglass
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Watership Down
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
The Aeneid
A Farewell to Arms
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
Sons and Lovers

The Book Thief
The History of Tom Jones
The Road
Tender is the Night
The War of the Worlds

I was surprised at first by how many Jane Austen books were on here, but I guess it makes sense, really, that this list has so much overlap with any list of the Best Books or Most Important Classics or what have you--these are books that people think they ought to read, or at least to own. And so the more people there are who love a book, the more people there are who pick it up because everyone else loved it, even if they might not love it themselves.

I was also surprised by how few books I marked unfinished--or, well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, given that until fairly recently I had a complex about leaving books unfinished and would FORCE myself to slog through books I hated just to finish. I guess I thought it was a test of character or something. I'm a much happier reader now that I've realized life is too short to waste on books you don't enjoy.

By the way, should I read The Kite Runner or Life of Pi as Amazon keeps trying to convince me to do? At this point I am almost resistant to doing so because of being told so many times how great they are.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hey, did you hear formula is POISON?

Ah, yes, something else to feel guilty about: Apparently Similac Organic formula is noticeably sweeter than other formulas because it's made with--gasp--sugar!

With the exception of a few weeks worth of Similac Advance at the beginning of her life, and of course four months of half breastmilk, half formula, Similac Organic was the only thing Bat Girl drank for the first year of her life. And seriously? This article alarms me not one little bit. Really, I fail to see the problem here.

I may not be a "professional taster," but in my experience breastmilk is far sweeter than ANY formula, SO included. So the idea that adding sugar to formula instead of lactose or corn syrup is going to make your kid overeat or give them an insatiable taste for sweet things seems bogus to me. One mother is quoted as saying, "[S]ugar is a concern for us--that’s why we started her on vegetables rather than fruits, so she wouldn’t get used to the sweet taste first." Too late--your baby was BORN with a taste for sweet, and the commandment to start on veggies instead of fruits is outdated and not based on real science.

And what about the argument that sucrose causes tooth decay? Well, first of all, a kid needs to have TEETH to have tooth decay. Second, so does lactose or corn syrup or ANY kind of sugar--it's why you're supposed to brush your kid's teeth after they have a cup of milk at bedtime. Is it possible that sucrose is not the healthiest form of sugar available? Sure. I'll even concede that there may be unknown differences in the way sucrose is metabolized versus other sugars that could be deleterious to health. But, you know, once you make the decision to poison your baby with formula, does it really matter? (HA!)

No, seriously though, for me, if this article had come out when Bat Girl was still drinking formula, I would not have switched. Organic is more important to me than what kind of sugar is in the stuff. And SO comes in ready-to-feed form, which other organic formulas do not, and I am really, really lazy. And based on my highly scientific sampling of babies (n=1), SO has not caused any problems. Bat Girl generally had no more than 24 ounces of formula a day when it was her sole source of nutrition. She drank a little more (around 30 ounces/day) when she was nearing 10-11 months, but that was a signal to us that we needed to step up her solids consumption. She has consistently fallen around the 50th percentile for height and around the 25th percentile for weight. She eats all kinds of vegetables, including broccoli, spinach, and peas. She had no problem switching from formula to cow's milk, and when I gave her (sweet!) apple juice for the first time this weekend she spat it out. She is super healthy and active and suffers no apparent ill effects from her year drinking pure evil.

But if you need a good Monday morning dose of rage, check out the comments on the article. There's the usual "breast is best," "down with the evil formula conglomerates," followed by the backlash by women who couldn't breastfeed, followed by the backlash-backlash from people claiming that women who can't breastfeed are RILLY RILLY RARE and everyone else is just a lazy selfish bitch, etc. Awesome! My favorite comment is #56, which I quote in part especially for you, my IF homies: "One thing we forget is that there is much more to breastfeeding than the milk itself. Breastfeeding is to breastmilk as making a baby the usual way is to in vitro fertilization. Feeding a baby breastmilk in a bottle is just not the same thing as breastfeeding." The best/worst part is that that commenter? Jack Newman, whose handouts I used extensively during my own breastfeeding battles. Ain't that just a kick in the pants?

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Monday, May 05, 2008

Fifteen months and fearless

"Fearless" being the adjective most often applied to Bat Girl in recent weeks, by us, by friends and family, and by complete strangers. She tears across the playground at the speed of kids twice her size, she tries to climb up the slide like the big kids do, she wants to hang from the jungle gym bars and cannonball into the sand pit, she'll march into the middle of a crowd of seven-year-old boys and snatch their ball ("ball!") for herself, she climbs onto the rocking chair in her room and stands on it to crane her little neck to look at the trucks ("chuc!") outside ("tsa-tsai!"), she shouts hello to all strangers and doggies, she'll happily wander away from me at the playground or in someone else's apartment and if I'm not careful, I'll find her minutes later, elbow deep in mud or stolen sandbox toys or a bag of cat food.

She loves draping things around her shoulders--a T-shirt pulled from the laundry pile or my dresser drawer, a pair of pajamas from her own room, one of those crib toys with a lot of little stuffed animals strung together--and is especially delighted if I drape a long-sleeved tee of mine over her like a cape. We thought this was peculiar, but apparently another kid we know who's her age does this too. So I guess it's normal?

She likes to "clean"--give her a rag and she will crouch down and scrub the floor, or wipe her high chair tray, or clean her hands. I don't know where she got this, as she certainly didn't learn about scrubbing floors from her parents.

After spending the first year of her life unattached to anything besides her parents' bodies--no pacifiers, no loveys, nothing--she's suddenly fallen for a couple of teddy bears ("beer!"), and she alternates dragging them around our apartment or snuggling them in front of the TV. She's not particularly interested in sleeping with them, though, nor do they provide much comfort when she wakes (still!) in the middle of the night--only Mom or Dad with a bottle will do.

She continues to be a little chatterbox (though most of her words are probably unrecognizable to anyone but her parents) and has started putting words together, like "Mommy shoe" (pointing to my sneakers) and "see toe!" (in the bath, pointing to her toes). Our friend who babysat for her last week claims BG said "It's a ball!" but I'm pretty sure she imagined that.

She loves self-feeding and can only tolerate being spoon-fed for a few minutes before demanding the spoon ("poon!") herself, which means I'm sometimes frantically shoveling yogurt into her so I can get her fed at least a little before she smears and splashes and coats the whole kitchen with food. She's finally gotten the hang of holding a larger piece of food and gnawing on it, rather than trying to shove the whole thing into her mouth. At the end of meals, she often sweeps all the food remaining on her high chair tray onto the floor, grandly rejecting the pears/chicken/cereal/quesadilla/peas/whatever...then as soon as she's let out of her high chair, she's like, "Oooh, food on the floor!" and snatches it up and eats it before I can wrestle it out of her hand. She's still addicted to the bottle (four 4-oz chugs of milk a day), though she'll drink water from a sippy at meals. She does not deign to hold either bottle or sippy herself, however--why bother trying to master the correct angles when you have a mom or dad who will hold it for you like your personal drink bitch?

She's extremely strong-willed and will throw a major screaming tantrum in a heartbeat--red face, arched back, supersonic shrieks, flinging herself to the floor. This is especially fun when it happens for no apparent reason at 3 a.m. (Though the pediatrician, this morning at her 15-month well-baby visit, observed that she had a whole lot more teeth coming in, which might account for the middle-of-the-night screams. We're kind of slow to figure things out.)

She loves music and loves dancing around the room in my arms or her daddy's arms. She also "dances" herself, swaying and rocking to the beat with a big grin when a fun song comes on the TV or stereo. (The other day it was an Erasure song, which prompted my husband to observe, "You really are a Korean girl, aren't you?")

She peed in the potty a few weekends ago, but I'm pretty sure it was a total accident.

She is the coolest little person, and I can't believe how fast she is growing up.


Friday, May 02, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I was offered the job. But I turned it down today.

The money was okay, not great. It was a small bump up from my current salary--not as big a bump as I wanted, but not an insulting amount, especially considering that my industry is not doing so great right now, and that I'm the sole breadwinner of my family. It would have been enough to buy myself some more nice things once in a while, enough to help out the college fund a lot. But ultimately money wasn't the reason I turned the job down.

I don't ever blog about work, or what I do for a living, so this will be hard to do without violating that rule but...suppose you were a zookeeper. (I am not a zookeeper.) And say you were dreaming of running your own zoo devoted to penguins, but right now you're working as a general zookeeper, taking care of a few penguins as part of your overall duties. And you're suddenly offered a job running division of a zoo that has no penguins whatsoever. You might consider taking the job, just to get the experience running a whole division of a zoo, but this would be taking you further away from your penguin dreams (because you'd be losing out on penguin experience, and not keeping up with the latest penguin care innovations). So you stay at your current job, in the hopes that one day you might be put in charge of the whole penguin exhibit. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I decided to sacrifice a small short-term gain in income in favor of my long-term dreams (as much as I can be said to have any career "dreams," as wizened and cynical as I've become). Luckily my husband was supportive of this. And I guess Bat Girl will just have to take out another college loan when the time comes.

But it was a tough call. It's not the first time family considerations have entered into a career decision for me. In fact, I took my current job, after being self-employed for a long time, largely because we wanted better health insurance to cover IF treatments. But this time, it was even more concrete, thinking about how much organic milk or tiny shoes or 529 contributions that small but real raise would have bought. And in deciding in favor of my dreams, in taking a risk, I really did feel for a moment that I was depriving my child.

Ah well. If mama's happy, everyone's happy, right?