Wednesday, October 3, 2012

On the Subject of Living Cells

Recently, maybe because of Mitt Romney, I've had some view of posts that I find to be morally reprehensible.   I'm not talking about anything pro choice, but those where people extol the virtues of a blastocyst. 

Getting a little technical here, take a look.
At the end of this little bit of time lapse, you have a cluster of cells that's capable in the correct conditions of growing into a tiny human being.

Now let's take a look at this:
At the end of this article, you should be enraged that this under-aged girl was "legitimately" raped (because that's the only way she could get pregnant), had such a shitty relationship with her family that she wasn't honest about however the hell it happened, and then carried a baby to full term and strangled it with her bare hands BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO.

So now, because she was uneducated, unsupported, and stupid - she has destroyed two lives.

News flash: 
Blastocyst !=  person.   
American 14 year old in the 21st Century != mother or even likely to be physiologically READY to nurture a growing fetus in her still growing body.

Legislation of a clump of cells doesn't just mean that you are just respecting the sanctity of life, or if you are religious that you are just acknowledging that there is a spirit, a personality, an unknown potential that occurs during fertilization.    You are also legislating that if a woman encounters undue stress and miscarries, that her husband has the right to have her prosecuted for murder.   Law is law; and this is the precedent you set.  

It is incredible, to be sure, whether you are a spiritually driven or scientifically driven person, that this feat of the body exists.   It is to be respected.   So are women.  Especially those who are less moneyed and able to figure a way to make the best of a pregnancy.  By every measure the most grave responsibility anyone can take is to become a parent.  Unprepared and uneducated to do so - you've not just screwed up the life of the woman without a choice to avoid it - you've screwed the opportunities for that child.   And let me know how the whole adoption thing is going for you, if you're of that vein.   Because I don't know too many people lining up to pick up the ill behaved, stunted children that are... now giving birth.

Until children are educated about things that make you uncomfortable, and have parents who are watching what the hell they are doing, the government 100% has the responsibility to ensure that things like Cassidy the 14 year old murderer have some way of not happening.    I bet you she'd have a lot less regret now if she'd had the education, support, and wherewithall to ask for birth control or the morning after pill to prevent implantation of your stupid precious blastocyst.    As another technical aside - the blastocyst is completely incapable of anything until after implantation, which is where pregnancy is defined.   If you prevent the implantation, you prevent pregnancy - so this legislation that gives the definition of life to "the point of conception" is profoundly scientifically incorrect and would make whatever percentage is the going rate of fertilized eggs that just didn't happen to implant - murder. 
And that rate probably hasn't gotten any better because of all us old birds with our old crappy eggs trying to have babies.

So for those who think I am not really considering or weighing out all the facts when I stand firmly in the corner of pro choice and reproductive education - please know that I am.   I am doing it more so than our politicians and many of my friends and family, whom I love dearly and do NOT want to argue with. 

But Cassidy, poor, ignorant, horrible Cassidy - well, now I can't keep my mouth shut.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Raising Children

In the last 6 months, we've had to go pick up our 4 year old son from daycare because of behavioral issues. This is, in my opinion, two times too many. I'd like to blame this on two things:

1. His ginormous tonsils

2. Pumped Up Kicks, the subversive yet catchy song by Foster the People which has been a cross-platform radio hit.

All the experts will tell you that basically all you need to do to have good kids is be good parents. Pay attention to your kids, get down on their level to talk to them. Show affection. Read with them. Listen to them. When they are acting out, use some consistent show of discipline, whether that be timeouts, removal of privileges, sending them to their room, redirecting them to somewhere else to expend their energy, whatever. Eat dinner with them every night. Involve them in your day to day activities.

The experts don't know what the hell they're talking about. This is why I'm pinning my hopes on a tonsillectomy saving my kid from being labeled as a trouble making punk.

Joey eats home cooked meals at our dinner table with all the family members 5 nights a week, save the one night we usually head out to Chick Fil A as a treat - and of course, pizza Friday. He helps empty the dishwasher. He learns sight words with me on my iPad. He and Tabby each pick a book each night to have read to them. When we watch TV, it's with a parent. We shy away from overtly violent cartoons, we do arts and crafts together. We eat lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and yogurt. We provide the kids with simple choices to allow them a sense of importance and that they matter (at least we let them dress themselves and pick out shoes). We try to let the natural consequences be a teacher - when we take green lantern to the grocery store and lose him... we don't get a new one. We're enrolled in karate to help foster a sense of self discipline. For most basic measures we are very good parents. When we lose our minds, we find books to read and go talk to a therapist. We try not to resort to shaming the kids or spanking, but frankly, it's happened. Show me a parent who's never been pushed to step away from their core parenting style and I'll show you a liar with a seriously messed up kid.

So yes, we are the most awesome parents in the world, or at least in Arizona. Yet, we have a 4 year old boy who seems to have no problem focusing, problem solving, and remaining engaged in cognitive activities... who also has violently aggressive outbursts and whine-fits for what seems to be no reason at all. Punching people in the face, stripping all his clothes off, big physical melt down tantrums. No triggers. No massive life changes. No missed developmental markers. Just... crazy town.

And the parenting books remind you, incessantly: no child ever goes to college in pullups. Nobody has a tantrum in the boardroom at work. Seasons change, phases are outgrown, and so on. At the peak of undesired behavior (or what you hope is the peak of it, anyway) these are the most irritating platitudes in the world. Fantastic, being a total shit at 4 years old has little bearing on how you behave at 16, 24, or 40. Well, thanks for that, Dr. Sears! Any other reassuring little nuggets up your sleeve?

So anyway, hopefully we pull out these evil demon tonsils & adenoids sometime in January, he starts to sleep more restfully because his airways are less occluded by giant hunks of flesh, and we see the radiant, funny, brilliant little boy we know we have a little more often.

That, or he's going to shoot somebody for their Air Jordans.

In the meantime, I'm going to start reading the books about developmental milestones in boys and how to raise boys in particular. I fear I'm becoming less attached as a mother and a nurturer due to this behavior. I get the feeling that I am not equipped to respond to it in a way that is constructive; and that's a scared, lonely, internal mommy feeling that I never want to see fully realized. I haven't got this divide with my 3 year old daughter.

Anyone with sons who has anything they think will help - I gladly welcome advice.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I go out blogging, after midnight

I'm waiting for water to boil for a double strength cup of nighty-night tea.
The family has had a pretty challenging last 30 days, and I've been laying in bed for the last two and a half hours trying not to toss and turn, trying not to get up, and then deciding that there was no getting around it after I had one of those horrible acid-reflux burps that pretty much decide things for you.

In the last month, I've had a severe sinus infection, a mild case of pneumonia, my father in law has died after a long decline, yesterday my husband threw his back out cutting a pancake and my 3 year old had to be taken in for two stitches to the eyebrow after an encounter with a coffee table which had apparently not seen enough blood in its lifetime. I seriously look at this run on sentence and I hear Dan Baird trading in "I Love You, Period" for "Urgent Care Got Me Down."

I have so many other trivial stupid things to ponder on:
- I can't get up the nerve for the third time in 5 years to ask the woman who does the floors twice a month to stop using whatever it is that smells like corn syrup mixed with baby powder and White Diamonds. I'm just happy that the floors are less covered in splotches of milk sweetened with Froot Loop dust anymore.
- I am staring at a Xanax that I took out of my husband's prescription and considering that it is not right for me to be giving myself the third degree after the month I've had and the fact that I'm unable to sleep (!) tonight, and questioning whether I should be taking it at all. As soon as my nighty night tea cools down enough, the answer is yes, it's worth a try, and worst case scenario the coffee will be double strength tomorrow.
- My kids have more toys than I think I or my sisters could ever have possibly owned. Seriously, I just had the realization that anything I would have purchased them for Christmas... they already own. I never thought I'd be the parent that was so massively indulgent that I'd have this sort of issue. I always pictured myself as one step up from the "we rent all our dvds from the library" parents. I never considered that we'd run out of shelf room for volumes of Yo Gabba Gabba.
- If I were Tina Fey, this would all be 50% funnier, because it would be a famous person with flaws just like mine! you'd be relating to right now instead of a middle management 36 year old carrying an extra 10 lbs and a complex the size of Iceland.
- Less trivial, equally stupid: if my 4 year old would just gain enough weight that I didn't have to roll / tuck / sew / pin all of his shorts up, we might have less of an issue with nudity at daycare. Everyone thinks it's hilarious. It is; when it's something you're talking about that happened 3 years ago and/or it's not your kid dropping trou in Pre-K at nap time and getting you called in for parent / teacher conferences.

In conclusion, I'm taking a drug that doesn't belong to me with a 16 oz mug of hippie tea. If the right one don't getcha, the left one will.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WPP - Tabby's Birthday Party

WPP = White People Problems.

So Tabby's birthday is Aug 20 and I've booked a 15 kid party at Imagination Avenue, a genuinely neat kid centric place for them to play and have cake, and generally have a good time. No three year old child has 15 actual friends, and I thought for sure that 15 would be overkill, especially since it's kind of far from our house and we have no relatives in AZ. The more I thought about this the more sure I was that we'd be fine.

As the party slowly approaches, I start counting the kids of the people I would like to invite, and this is now as grisly as the process of making the A and B list for a large wedding, where you invite people from list B as the people from list A send you their regrets, and fret about whose feelings will be hurt because you didn't have enough money to invite the whole world to celebrate a toddler's 3rd birthday.

Nobody tells you about this sort of drama when you are holding a baby or when you're worrying about developmental milestones - parenthood is just as fraught with ridiculous social traps for adults as anything else, and though by now I should have realized it, this is the first birthday we're having outside of our own house. Definitely WPP.

Anyway, the Hello Kitty cake will go over like gangbusters.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

TMI - Happy Father's Day

So another Father's Day is upon us and I've got reason to care about it in the last 4 years or so, but prior to that I had a good 25 year span of who gives a shit, or more accurately, bitter bitter nasty who gives a shit. Seeing people posting about their dads being awesome, being teachers, being helpful, or perhaps most affecting - being in heaven - has for some reason really started to take its toll on me.

My dad shot himself in the head leaving four shotgun shells lined up on a motel nightstand like so many unkept promises for my sisters, mom, and I. (side note: who seriously goes through the drive through at Rally's to eat a combo meal less than an hour before killing themselves? Was this done to make the ME's job that much more disgusting? Or is it the self centeredness of having a last meal even if it is fast food?) The Dearborn police got to throw out an assault and battery case I had pending against him when this occurred, and my life was further altered. I didn't have the worst life in the world. I was reminded of this on several occasions in my childhood when I was smugly handed articles from the Detroit News about horrific child abuse cases. Some of these stories still stick with me and I remember the verbiage: "the child, 4, was forced to eat feces" or "broke her bones putting her into the washing machine because he claimed the child was unclean."

You think you have it bad, huh kid, try this on for size.

Anyway, I'm glad he's gone. There's no good facebook copy/paste quote for that. No, "copy and repost if you agree!" I am angry at my dad for being immature, for being so self centered, and for being such a loser. I am also grateful that he's dead because if he'd remained the person that I knew, I would never have allowed him to even look at a picture of my children.

I have had this conversation with many people and for so many reasons I don't think I will ever be able to forgive my father and there is an admittedly sizable part of me that wants to believe in hell so that he has to be there as a consequence for his behavior. Another part of me wants to believe that this was the world's way of making my life easier: by having him remove himself.

In any case, happy fathers day to FATHERS. Men who physically, verbally, sexually, and mentally assault children and their mothers: join my dad in hell.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Find Your Light

This picture is from going to see Sloan for the first time - despite being a long time fan... like 15 years long. About 1 am after the show, I got a CD autographed and had brief conversations with everyone in the band, and as my husband took pictures using his phone, Chris Murphy moved us over to the edge of the stage and positioned us in one of the few lights that remained on while the crew broke down equipment. He looked at John, smiled, and told me "find your light."

It was a moment that I keep returning to, it was a really thoughtful gesture. Not that I was in any way surprised that a Canadian bassist would be polite, thoughtful, and sincere in general - but that after playing shows for 20 years and taking countless pictures with giddy fans there was no sense of "this gets old" or "not again" or anything like that. It's a great thing to do what you love with your life and to have other people enjoy it, benefit from it, and be inspired by it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


"Lookit Taaaabby."
Joey points to his sister, standing next to the television with her finger on the power button. She looks at me. This child rarely blinks, which is odd because her eyes are as big as golf balls. Her tiny little finger puts pressure on the power button. Off. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.
"Nonononononononononononononono," she tells me.
Her finger comes away from the television to admonish me (a cat? her brother? the air?).

You always hear that kids imitate what they see. My kids love to admonish each other, help with the dishes, and go bye bye. Joey wants to go shopping every time we get in the car. I wish I shopped as much as he wants to; we really only grocery shop on Saturdays.

I have a contented life, but watching what my kids do in imitation of me is a little depressing. In their eyes right now I'm a grocery shopping, bath giving, no-doling, dishwasher who occasionally slips them a little piece of cheese.