Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lucky and Unlucky


This week, Daisy came down with one of those childhood viruses that no one seems to get over the age of seven. It's called Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. It basically involves sores all over the mouth and throat, fever, and spots on the hands and feet.


We were both lucky and unlucky. Lucky because my tutoring was cancelled for Friday, so I could be home, and unlucky because the virus meant we had to miss Daisy's school carnival last night, which she had been looking forward to for weeks. Daisy had several robust cries yesterday. It was one of those disappointments where all you can really do as a parent is agree that life isn't fair and realize that character building is in progress.


The kids vacillated between playing together nicely and beating the crap out of each other all day. I brought out a game for them to play, which involves using small fishing rods to capture these little plastic fish. Instead of doing the logical thing and playing the game together, a fight erupted because Daisy wanted to play the game with her stuffed kangaroo, who apparently is an avid fisher, while Violet wanted the game all to herself. I caught Daisy slugging her sister pretty hard, so I sent her to her room for a time-out. There was a lot of hysterical screaming, and I knew it wasn't really about the fish game.


After the time-out, I sat and talked with Daisy and we could see Violet happily playing the fish game on the floor in the next room. Violet was naked, which recently is how she rolls when chilling at home. Daisy pointed at her and said emphatically, "THAT is NOT my FRIEND!" I replied with THAT is your BEST FRIEND. Daisy responded, "NO!" with a tone and look that said: please don't condemn me to a life where that is my best friend.


I tried to reason with her: You're sisters. You have each other for life and no one can replace your sister. Besides, anyone would want a friend like that. Just as I was finishing the last sentence, Violet stood up in the other room. The handle of one of the fishing rods was stuck in her bottom, so it looked like she was fishing off her backside, and she walked around as if she didn't notice a thing. It was the best laugh Daisy and I have had in awhile. Daisy said, "EVERYONE wants a friend LIKE THAT?! I don't think so, Mom."


picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/echoforsberg/2850926393/

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Breastfeeding


Mother's Day this year turned into three days of celebration. My sister-in-law threw an unexpectedly raging party Saturday afternoon. I was cooked for and waited on Sunday. Yesterday, my mom treated me to shopping, lunch and salon. Now that I have been properly celebrated, I will share some wisdom . . . just kidding.



The best part of yesterday was talking to my mom. She's discerning, nonjudgmental and laughs at everything. I've always been able to discuss just about anything with her and will forgo the more personal examples. One of the motherly things she helped me get through is breastfeeding.



I was committed to the idea of breastfeeding over formula, but the reality of my first week with Daisy wasn't the serene and lovely experience I had pictured. I was so sore, even bleeding a little, and had feelings of violent fury whenever a male was around while I was trying to make it work. I felt like screaming, "You asshole, you never have to go through this! Get out of here!"



But after awhile, breastfeeding didn't hurt anymore, and I was grateful to have had a nice long maternity leave to get it right. The whole process didn't just magically happen - at least for us. I was surprised by a fear of failing as a woman if I couldn't do it. It's not that I think there's anything wrong with using formula. The decision to breastfeed or use formula is a highly personal choice. For me, it was important to breastfeed.



It became a little more complicated when I returned to work. During the week, I would eat my lunch while walking to the nurse's office across the college campus from my office, then pump milk for about 15 minutes. The nurses were often giggling at the sound of the pump when I emerged from their break room. I smiled at their jokes but was actually a little sensitive about it. I would then tote the nursing pump back to the classroom in its black bag, stopping to bust teenagers on the way who would wonder what it was I was carrying. It caused some paranoia and one near bomb scare.



My mother told me that a lot of men will spend a lifetime in pursuit of naked breasts, but they can't handle seeing them put to their real purpose. I didn't think this was true for the males I knew but was surprised by one friend who may have voiced what others were afraid to say. He said he wished he didn't feel this way but when he had seen a woman breastfeeding in a restaurant, his initial thought was, "Ewww. Can't you do that somewhere else?" This is a man who had a nipple ring and was a devotee of Burning Man, returning with stories of naked orgies. I was a little surprised at his squeamishness.



I breastfed my first daughter until she was 14 months and the second, for a year. I know many moms who go longer but it was the right time for us. It will be one of those things that I will be nostalgic about for the rest of my life. When my middle brother was an infant, my great-grandma asked my mom if she could give it a try so she could remember what it felt like. My mom handed her the baby (sorry if this is the first time you're hearing about this, Bro). Luckily, no one made a similar request to me because I'm not sure how I would have felt about that, but I totally understand.



picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/goetter/1853834576/

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don't Look at Him


Daisy is at a playground with Grandpa recently and a little boy approaches them. He says he's lost a toy, so Daisy asks if he lost it down the grate he is standing on. He says no, he lost it in outer space and begins an elaborate story.



My dad, being a good sport, responds with something like, "If I know you in the future, I'll look for it when I fly my rocket ship to outer space and I'll bring it back for you if I find it."



The boy continues to talk and talk. Daisy turns to my dad and says, "Grandpa, don't look at him." She's hoping that if they don't make eye contact, he'll go away.



I think it's an early example of the difference between male and female communication. Daisy often approaches other little girls with something like, "I'm the baby cheetah and you're the mommy cheetah . . . " From there, they usually drop to the ground and go into immediate role playing. Complex character development and relationships enhance the plot.



For boys, it's often adventures starring themselves and fighting. It's all plot and solo perspective. My dad knew how to respond. Daisy didn't see how she could connect with the boy's story so it was irrelevant.



I'm telling you, men and women speak different languages.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nothing to Report


I haven't been writing about job hunting because there really is nothing to report. New jobs are scarce, and I apply to anything over $12 hour within 30 miles from my home - part-time or full-time. Of course, I jump on ANY telecommute job. I look at several categories: education, admin, retail, wholesale, writing, bookkeeping. This is insanity.



I live on Craigslist. I'm familiar with the usual suspects. There are those sucky jobs with the unreasonable expectations and low pay that are relisted on a regular basis. I'm just bitter because I never even got an interview.



There are also the scam artists who fish for bank account info. There's one in particular who often goes by Maximillian. HE WRITES IN ALL CAPS AND HE WANTS TO BRING HIS SON TO YOUR HOUSE FOR THREE HOURS AT A TIME EVERY DAY FOR $100 AN HOUR. EVERYTHING NEEDS TO HAPPEN YESTERDAY. HE JUST NEEDS YOUR BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS SO HE CAN TRANSFER $1000'S OF DOLLARS INTO YOUR ACCOUNT. PLEASE GIVE HIS SON ALLOWANCE. Sometimes, he changes his writing style and posting enough that I don't recognize him the first time, but then there's the ALL CAPS email. I've flagged him several times and got his account closed on another website.



At least the scam artists get back to me. The otherwise lack of response has pummeled my ego in the one area that I've always been confident about - the ability to work hard and earn a paycheck. I evaluate the multiple versions of my resume on a regular basis. It occurred to me recently that maybe I wasn't getting interviews for non-manager jobs because of my previous title of Assistant Principal. I wondered if prospective employers would think that I would try to take over their world. Maybe discipline them, assign detention and call their parents. So I changed the job title to administrator. Still nothing.



The sad thing is that even if you get the job, you might not get the job. You might never hear from them again. If you're confused, imagine how I feel. I went through the process to become a tutor for a new agency several months ago. I really liked the owner's website and her whole set-up. She was super organized and innovative, careful and precise. She called all three of my references after a lengthy phone interview. She told me I got the job and what to expect . . . then seemingly dropped off the face of the earth. I tried emailing but nothing. Her website doesn't exist any more.



Another job that I got but didn't was an online writing tutor. It was one of those commercial universities for working adults who want to earn college degrees. It sounded perfect for my current situation. I jumped through several hoops: completed two written interviews, submitted an essay and sent official transcripts. I received notification that I qualified and they would be contacting me within two weeks for training. That was the last I heard from them. So disappointing.



My two learning centers are also looking shaky. The more established one bragged about all the work they would be able to get me but it's been lackluster. I agreed to teach summer school but just found out that the classes they assigned me may be canceled. The less established learning center wants me to keep reiterating my commitment and keep time reserved, but they are also seeking students and nothing is happening. The last time I was there, I felt like they were sort of turning on me . . . maybe it's YOUR fault that we have no business. I walked out thinking: GET OUT NOW.



There's my report about nothing.



picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/272818496/


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Nice and Steady


A few minutes ago, there was an important announcement made from upstairs . . . "American Idol will be starting. I am coming down soon!"



Daisy walks downstairs in a sparkly pink dress and Hello Kitty tights and silver shoes. She's put a big white snowflake sticker over her dress, in the middle of her stomach.



She stands in front of me and sings in the style of Judy Garland with a little Gwen Stefani. I remember to write down the lyrics this time. When I sing them back to her, she falls on the floor laughing like a monkey.
I've been thinking tomorrow
It was a happy day
And now in the moonlight sky
The stars are glowing
Hurray
And the night is coming for birds to go night
I've never been such in my heart
I nice and steady
Been such
I know my way
So by tomorrow
You been my master pet
I've never been starring myself
Yes
I never been a night star
Growing all the way
Down
When the star come out to play
All the moonlight shine strings
And the star weeping
Shooting way
Shooting star
Yeah


Not bad for 5.



picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ekstra/1007419576/in/photostream/