Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Blog!

Hello to the three of you who still subscribe to this blog! I actually started a new, non-anonymous blog. If you're interested in following me there, comment on this post and let me know how I can reach you, and if you are not a creepy stalker, I'll message you with my new blog link! If you are a creepy stalker, you probably already know my new blog link.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Becoming Un-Anonymous?

Ok, so...

Lately I've been thinking about letting the people I know in real life know about my blog. Actually, first I thought about starting a second blog that would be in no way related to this blog that I would share with family and friends, and I could not for the life of me think of a name for the blog. It was pathetic. My train of thought went like this, "I'm going to make a new blog! Yay! Ok, first page: 'Blog Title.' Oh, shoot..."

Anyway, I used to have a blog that friends and family read, and I know some of them enjoyed reading it. Lately I've had several friends suggest that I start up again, and "Well, I was going to, but I couldn't think of a title for it, so I gave up" seems like a lame excuse for not doing it. Plus, I want a place where I can share amazing things that Baby D does (for example, yesterday, I said to him, "Get me a book, and I'll read it to you," and he went and got me a book!! And he's only one!! And I'm pretty sure he's the first baby in the history of the world to learn the word "book!") with people who actually want to know, instead of just putting it on Facebook where some girl I knew in eighth grade reads it and thinks, "Shut up about your kid already." Also, I think I'd write more often if people I knew in real life were reading.

Thoughts? Did you become un-anonymous and love it/hate it/lose your job and become homeless? (Bonus for me: I'm a stay-at-home mom, so my boss [Baby D] can't fire me.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Saying No To Santa

I'm about to share something that will probably have people grabbing tinsel-covered pitch forks to come hunt me down (assuming anyone reads it.) Baby Darling will not believe in Santa Claus. We're not "doing" Santa. Baby D will get presents (so far for his first Christmas, we've gotten him a ton of books, a bead maze, one of those giant wooden puzzles with only three pieces, a ball pit, some pajamas, bath toys, a toy gingerbread man, a swing, and a giant stuffed hedgehog. Because nothing says Christmas like a stuffed hedgehog. Obviously.), but he will know that the presents are from us, not from Santa.

The one other time I dared to confess online that we aren't "doing" Santa, the automatic and overwhelming assumption was that I'm a Christmas-hating Scroogy Grinch with a heart two sizes too small, which could not be further from the truth. (Except maybe the heart thing. I couldn't say, having never measured it. But I assume it's the normal size.) I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday by far. For the past four years, we have always had at least two full-sized Christmas trees in our house at Christmas, along with a few smaller ones. I once wrote on this very blog about how I managed to convince Dr. D to let me leave the Christmas tree up until June. (I chickened out in late February and finally took it down, but still.) At last count, our family of three owns at least ten Christmas stockings. Dr. D and I got married a few days before Christmas, and the church and reception venue were decorated for Christmas from top to bottom. But I'm just not into the whole Santa thing. Before I explain why, let me say this in huge, bold letters: I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST ANYONE WHO CHOOSES TO TELL THEIR KIDS THAT SANTA IS REAL. I DO NOT JUDGE YOUR PARENTING CHOICES OR YOU AS A PERSON. I DO NOT THINK THAT YOUR CHILDREN WILL BE SCREWED UP FOR LIFE WHEN THEY FIND OUT HE'S NOT REAL. I THINK THAT YOU ARE PROBABLY A VERY NICE, LOVING PERSON WHO JUST HAPPENS TO MAKE PARENTING CHOICES THAT ARE DIFFERENT THAN MY OWN, AND I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THAT. This post is not about you and your parenting decisions, it's about me and mine. Many things have been written "in defense of" Santa that are much more eloquent and meaningful than anything I've ever written, and I think that's great. Like 90% of the population, I smile when I read "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." But I'm not "playing Santa" with my own child, and here's why.

For starters - and this is my main reason - I don't want to lie. I think this is the reason that gets people all up in arms, because it makes people mad to feel like they're being called liars. And I've heard all of the arguments that it's not lying, it's "pretending," or "make believe," or "tradition." But if I say to my child, "Santa is real. The gifts under the tree are from him. He came down our chimney and left them for you," that's a lie. To me, it's different than saying to my child, "let's play a game and pretend you're a puppy and I'm your owner," because my child knows that he is not a puppy (I mean, he doesn't know that YET,because he's only nine months old, but he'll know someday). I am not trying to convince him that he is, in fact, a puppy. We are playing a game, and he knows it's a game. But if we "play a game of pretend," and I never tell him that it's a game of pretend, and I do everything I can to convince him that it's NOT a game of pretend, and I create elaborate schemes to convince him that it's real, then he doesn't know that it's just a fun game of "make believe," and I honestly don't see how that's somehow different than an outright lie. And if I'm going to teach my child that he shouldn't lie, I don't know how I can blatantly lie to him. I understand that there may be times when I might end up lying to my child out of what seems like necessity. The only one I can think of off of the top of my head is if Baby D should ever knock on our bedroom door while we're having sex and want to know why we won't open up. But I'm sure that other situations will arise where I won't be quick enough on my feet and I'll end up lying to avoid telling Baby D something that he shouldn't know. I'm not saying that's right, but I'm saying it might happen. But I just can't justify intentionally, repeatedly lying to Baby D while telling him it's not ok for him to do it.

(I didn't make that, I've just seen it re-pinned nine million times on Pinterest, presumably by teens. 
So this idea has obviously occurred to people besides me.)


My second reason is that I don't like the "spin" it puts on getting presents. Santa keeps track of who is good and who is bad, and only children who are good get presents. So the gifts children get at Christmas are not expressions of love from parents who worked hard to earn the money so that they could give nice things to the children they adore, they are things that the children earned and are owed because of good behavior. It's not, "wow, Mom and Dad, thank you so much," it's, "I was good, so I deserve these gifts from Santa. If I'd been bad, I would have gotten coal." Which brings me to my next point:

The tradition of Santa is often used to teach children to behave well for the wrong reasons. I know that this isn't necessarily a huge part of the Santa tradition for all families, but with the increasing popularity of the "Elf on the Shelf," it seems to be becoming more and more of a focus. You shouldn't hit your sister. Not because it's unkind. Not because it hurts her and you wouldn't like it if she hit you. But because Santa will know, and he won't give you any presents. It shifts the focus from doing the right thing because it's the right thing to doing the right thing because you're going to get something out of it. Would it be easier to be able to spend the whole month of December and at least half of November getting my child to be good because he's afraid he'll end up with nothing but a lump of coal in his stocking? Probably. But in the long run, I don't think it will teach him the lessons I want him to learn.

I know that on the off-chance that anyone reads this, someone will inevitably respond with "if your child tells my child that Santa's not real, I will... (punch you in the nose, tell my child to punch your child in the nose, cry, never allow my child to play with yours again, call your child an ugly liar, etc), so my next post will address that. In the meantime, I'll be on the lookout for any angry elves that might be coming my way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

I will die here. With a picture of a squirrel in the backyard.

As I've mentioned, Dr. Darling and I recently purchased a home. It was kind of terrible timing in that we had to pack up our entire house and move while we had a four-month-old baby who isn't a fan of ever being put down. Also, the day of our home closing was also the day of Dr. Darling's residency graduation, AND we had house guests, AND we were trying to pack our whole house, AND I had scheduled a graduation party at our rental house the day after graduation, AND our landlord wanted to start showing our house to potential renters the day after the party. It was very stressful. (I started to write a whole long paragraph here about WHY we had to buy a house when we did, but it was very boring. If you really want to know, I'll tell you. But it's not an interesting story, I promise.)

So we moved. I was in charge of supervising the movers because Dr. D was working during most of the time they were there. Naturally, I did a terrible job of supervising, and they left like half of our stuff at our old house, and somehow I didn't notice, so then Dr. D went over and discovered it and had to move it by himself. It was kind of awful.

The people we bought the house from were moving to another state for the husband's job, and they were very nice, but maybe a little weird. (For example: the day we came over to get the keys from them, the wife told us that she and her kids had buried a time capsule in the back yard the day before, so "don't move it" because "we'll be back in five years to dig it up." And my brain did this thing where it went, "Aww, that's cool that... wait. Did she just tell me she's going to come dig up my backyard in five years?" Is it me, or is that weird? It's not even like they had buried it years earlier when they thought they'd live there forever - they buried it the day before they moved with the intention of coming and digging up someone else's yard in five years. Also, we are planning to build a garage where they put the time capsule. 

Before you say, "Oh, Tova, please don't be a jerk and build over those poor children's time capsule and leave them brokenhearted," let me assure you that we are planning to move the time capsule to a more convenient location, even though it seems weird that we have to do that. Would it be really mean if I stuck something in their time capsule when we have to move it? Like my report card from fifth grade? Or a picture of a squirrel? Because seriously, how funny would it be if they opened the time capsule and there was something in there they had no recollection of having put in it?)

Anyway, the point of this post was supposed to be that moving was a huge pain, and after we moved, I said to Dr. Darling, "I am never moving again. I will die in this house." But now I forget what else I was going to say about how much of a pain it was, because I'm trying to think of what I could put in the time capsule. Please make suggestions! The best one wins! (Or you can tell me that I'm a jerk. Either way.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Entertain a Baby

Subtitle: Things I do to amuse Baby Darling when I need a break from saying "Hi" 4,392 times a day.

I have Googled variations on the phrase "activities to do with your infant" more times than I care to admit. Sometimes, it takes me to blogs with some pretty good ideas. More often, it takes me to some baby website with paid authors who have made lists that always, always include the suggestion "Play Peek-a-boo!" And I always want to leave a comment that says, "Really?? Peek-a-boo?? That's all you've got?? Where do I sign up to get paid to recommend that moms play freakin' PEEK-A-BOO??" Because I think we can all agree that if you are reading an article in order to get ideas on how to fill 10+ waking hours with your baby without going insane, you have probably already played peek-a-boo 14,000 times. Another problem is that most of the activities are really for older babies, and Baby D is only five months old.

Anyway, there are some other blogs out there with good ideas that have worked for me, but I'm going to list a few that I haven't seen elsewhere (although I'm sure they ARE out there, because there aren't really an unlimited number of things you can do to entertain an infant. It's not as if someone's going to suggest that you challenge your baby to a game of Parcheesi.)

1. Mimic - If your baby is in a "talkative" mood, imitate any sound that he makes. My dad says he always did this with my two siblings and me and he swears it's why we were all early talkers. Obviously, there's no way to prove or disprove that theory, but he has a PhD in biology, so I'm going to pretend that makes him an expert in talking to babies. My dad tried it out with Baby D, and Baby D was enthralled, so I've been doing it. He'll make a noise, I'll repeat the noise, and then he'll stare at me for ten seconds trying to figure out what the heck just happened. When I mimic his shrieking noise, he laughs uproariously.

2. Water - Another blog I found recommended that you put a bowl of water on a towel on the floor and then let your baby play in it. That sounded like a great idea to me until I mentioned it to a friend and she said that when she tried it with her son, he grabbed the towel and the whole bowl of water dumped all over the floor. So maybe I won't try that. Instead, I just prop Baby D on the edge of the kitchen sink with his feet under the faucet (with my arm still around him, of course), turn on some warm water, and spray his feet with the sprayer. I actually get bored of this long before Baby D does. Plus, I start to feel guilty for wasting water, and then I flash back to elementary school when if you took too long at the water fountain, some annoying kid behind you would shout, "Save the whales!" like the biggest threat to whales was post-gym-class water consumption. But Baby D loves having his feet sprayed with water until I'm feeling too bored/guilty to continue.

3. Mirrors - I know that every baby blog says this, but it's worth repeating. I stick Baby D in his Bumbo seat in front of our full-length bathroom mirror, and I can almost always buy myself enough time to do my hair and makeup and maybe check to see if anyone commented on the 1300 new pictures of Baby D that I posted on Facebook.

4. Blocks - A lot of blogs and articles suggest that you put a bunch of small toys or blocks in a container and then let your baby take them out or transfer them to another container. But if your baby can't sit up very well yet, this one's hard to do. What I do is put Baby D on his belly, fill a square plastic container with soft/foam blocks, and then turn the container on its side in front of him. They kind of spill out toward him, and he's able to grab them out of the container without being able to sit up.

5. Exercise - I recently mentioned to another mom that I have no time to exercise, and she suggested that I do it in front of Baby D because he would probably think it was funny. And darn her, she was right, so there goes my excuse for not exercising. I dance, Zumba or do jumping jacks in front of Baby D, and he thinks hilarious. (I prefer to think he's laughing with me rather than at me.) Dancing while holding him works, too.

6. Whisper - To be fair, this one actually doesn't work that well for Baby D, but it worked like a charm for my nephew. When he was getting restless and cranky, if you whispered very quietly in his ear, he would stop moving and fussing and become totally entranced. When I try it with Baby D, he whips his head around to see where the sound is coming from and almost breaks my nose. Try this at your own risk.

7. Drink from a cup - Let me start by saying that you really, really shouldn't give water to a baby under three months unless your doctor tells you otherwise, and older than that, they still don't really need water (again, unless your doctor says they do.) But somewhere between four and six months, babies start really paying attention to everything that goes into your mouth, including water. Around four months, Baby D started staring me down every time I'd drink out of a cup, so I decided to give him a sip. I'd hold him, put my cup up to his mouth, and tilt it so that his lips touched the water. The first several times I tried this, he spit the water all over himself and me, but he was very interested in it. Now he'll actually drink a few sips from my cup. The hard part is getting him to let go of it...

8. "Lip-reading" - Baby D loves to touch/grab faces right now. So I'll lay him on his side on my bed and then lay on my side next to him with my face close to his. He always reaches for my face, so I'll put his hand on my lower lip, then I'll just start making consonant noises (ba ba ba ba, ma ma ma ma, etc.) He likes watching and feeling my mouth move while listening to the sounds. Added bonus - I get to lay down!

Does anyone have any other fabulous ideas? What did/do you do to entertain your baby?
In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes