Saturday, December 11, 2010

Random Bits... and ranting some, too

Cecilia: "I'm watching it because I'm make suring it doesn't run away!"

Cecilia, after overhearing a song lyric, asked in a "deep thought" kind of way with a pensive look on her face, "How can you lose yourself?" The song lyric had said, "How did we lose ourselves in conversation?"

So, I go swim laps at the local college pool in their gym. It used to be that the swim team was always practicing (taking up all the lanes usually) every time I went during "recreational/fitness swim hours." Seems to me they shouldn't advertise having fitness swim hours during times the entire swim team has set up a practice session, but whatever. I had to deal with things like swimming laps in the recreational side of the pool and having college boys throwing footballs over my head and crashing into me because they were acting like 8 year old boys act while in a swimming pool. Anyway, the swim team is never there now when I go, so I guess they decided to practice at another time. The kayak class must be over, because they aren't there anymore either. There was a scuba class at one time too... interesting assortment of goings-on in the pool there. Tonight I encountered something all-new, though... a bunch of college students wearing these bonnet-looking swim caps that tied under their chins (looked pretty fruity on the guys, I must say), each with a number on it, I assume to act as team jerseys so players could tell who was on which team. They appeared to be playing water polo, but while in innertubes. There were only two lanes set up for lap-swimming (usually there are four), and alongside one of them, there were at least 15-20 people sitting to watch what must be some really popular new sport. As I stood bewildered in the doorway looking for a lifeguard, I decided to ask the nearest person, "Do you know if the pool is open for lap-swimming?" He said, "I don't know... I guess you can use those two lanes over there, but you might want to watch out for flying balls." Gee, thanks. So I took the lane closest to said flying balls because of the kids all sitting with their legs dangling in the water in the outermost lane. They were all wearing clothes yet sitting right on the edge. Somebody else came in to swim laps and had to share a lane with me. When he asked, I said, "Well, unless those people are going to move from the side of the other lane, sure, you can share with me."

I don't know what's wrong with college students lately... I am sure I was an obnoxious one, but I had the common decency to move out of doorways and other traffic flow areas if I was just going to stand around. If I drive through the campus in the daylight, everywhere I see kids walking around staring at their phones rather than talking to each other. They are all so plugged-in constantly. As I was leaving the gym today, a girl in front of me was texting and didn't notice me coming through the door behind her so didn't hold it open, and then she apologized, saying she can't text and walk at the same time. Then she thanked me for holding the next door for her (you know, because of her disability with texting and walking simultaneously). Really though, it was nice to see somebody still making actual human contact while also using her phone... even if the next thing she said was, "I'll probably, like, fall down the stairs."

Oh, and one final note regarding college kids... why do nearly all of them have cars that are newer than both of my cars??? How does that even make sense? College students are supposed to be driving old cars, not brand new ones! What is this world coming to? ;)

Ah, so while I'm kind of ranting, why not continue? Am I the only person in the country who doesn't have my house decorated for Christmas and my tree up already (this is being typed on December 2nd, by the way)? People on Facebook were posting, on THANKSGIVING DAY, "Got the tree up and decorated! Now outside to put up the lights!" I was thinking, "Why aren't you eating turkey and watching football right now???" Santa came to our mall over a week before Thanksgiving. Our town had a Christmas parade tonight - December 2nd. A total stranger at the library asked my five year old, "Are you going to the Christmas parade?" In past years, people have asked, "Is Santa coming to your house soon (in the first week of December)?" and, "Are you going to sit on Santa's lap?" Now, if you didn't know Caroline a few years ago, you'd absolutely not believe that she was so shy and afraid of strangers, even of people she knew sometimes. So when they are coming up and asking a two year old if some stranger is coming to her house... bad idea. People complain that their kids are overly crazy-excited weeks before Christmas, and to some extent we can't control that since these random strangers can't keep their mouths shut and since the children's department of the library is totally decked out by December 1st... but we don't have to fuel it additionally ourselves. I knew teachers who would say the whole month of December was a waste and they couldn't teach the kids anything. Then they'd be doing Christmas crafts every day starting the first week of December and not trying to teach anything, just reinforcing their notion that the entire month is lost to mass chaos. Parents shouldn't take their kids to see Santa the day after Thanksgiving and then act upset that their kids are so impatient about Christmas coming. Then there's the materialism... strangers asking kids, "What is Santa bringing you for Christmas?" Now, I will do online Christmas shopping beginning in late November, but that is mostly to ensure that I decide on everything with enough time to find it for the best price and order it with enough time for it to be shipped. But my kids don't know I am buying Christmas presents then - they don't get set out under the tree before December even arrives! So, how to avoid all this stress and over-excitement that doesn't need to be given to kids? Well, I avoid taking them to the mall after mid-November, for one thing. We wait to put up our tree until at least the middle of December (last year we waited until around the 19th or so to buy it, and we seriously had to buy a huge tree and cut it down to size because that was all that was left in our town!). How to avoid it in general though, when the random library lady tells your kids there's a Christmas parade that day? I don't know about that... so I just try to minimize any focus that is placed on Christmas so far in advance. Kids have a really hard time waiting five weeks for something, and then it is like it is all happening around them anyway, so by the time we actually get to Christmas, it's not special, and then the tree's on the curb on the 26th. I'm glad that my own parents never put up the tree before about the third week of Advent... it seemed normal to me, and I thought that nobody really started to go nuts about Christmas until about the 15th or 20th of December... but maybe I was just oblivious as a child? I'm glad if I was! ;) Even more so, I am glad for Advent - it gives me a solid, true reason other than my aversion to the social norms of today and disdain for materialism being forced on little kids (and my disdain for people forcing their crying little kids to sit on Santa's lap because "we just have to have a yearly picture!"). So really, it's not that I have a bad attitude about Christmas - just the material focus and starting it all so soon that it's all over by the time the actual day finally arrives. So, does the hype all really start earlier than it did in the 80s and 90s, or was I just oblivious?

Oh, and sorry, I have to rant some more... Caroline's been going to OT for an hour a week, and I have to wait in the waiting area with Cecilia during that time. I want to leave there and hit my head against a wall over some of the things I hear people saying. Today it was a lady who I'd never seen before (we go at the same time each week, so I know the "regulars") telling two other ladies about her husband cheating on her... with plenty of details, and how she was "like, whatever, you go and ruin my Thanksgiving and birthday, whatever..." Then there is the one girl (I say girl because she looks pretty young) who was baffled at me nursing my two year old... thankfully, there was another lady there who also nursed her son until he was two and defended me, ha! The young lady asked me, "So, when are you going to stop?" I answered her question, but apparently she was just in disbelief because she asked me two weeks later, "So, when are you going to stop?" Uh, are you going to ever stop asking me the same question??? This time when I answered her, "Oh, she'll stop when she is ready," she looked at me wide-eyed and said, "What if that's NEVER?" I almost laughed at her... like some 17 year old kid out there is still nursing (and if there really is one, then there are some kind of developmental and/or dysfunctional issues going on). Then all the talk about food stamps and all the bajillion medicines everyone is taking... now some of these kids legitimately need meds, but the over-medicalization of everything these days is nuts to me. Then today, a woman was talking about her baby being born and sustaining a birth injury, and there was the "was the baby just too big?" question. "Well, she was 8 lbs 2 oz." Why do people think that's some monster of a newborn? Mine were 8 lbs. 2 oz. and 8 lbs. 6 oz. Maybe a bit heavier than average, but not abnormally sized by any means. And I have to see baby bottles so stuffed with rice cereal that there is literally brown gunk oozing out of the bottle nipple... gag. Then there was the comment somebody made about spending the last of her money on Mountain Dew and infant cereal - two of the most essential nutrients known to man, you know (sarcasm). Then the talk about people's birth control, and how somebody had to insist that her sister "take her pill, even though she's not having sex, because if she doesn't, she'll get all messed up." Such strange, personal conversations these people have... Ah, so when I go in there each week, I make sure to have reading materials for myself and witty responses about nursing - otherwise, I'd lose my mind, or I'd be really rude. Instead, I will just vent it here. ;)

So, I am always freezing in my house at this time of year. We keep it at 69 degrees, and then I go to other people's house where the thermostat is set at 67, and I am not cold. I don't know why that is. I will dress in layers at home: an undershirt, long sleeved shirt, and sweater or pullover, sometimes two, along with slippers over my socks. Still cold. The girls claim they are not cold, even without slippers and in just one long-sleeved layer. And their hands don't feel cold to me like my own do. So anyway, today I discovered a cure:

Yes, I am wearing a scarf inside. I love this scarf. I was not cold all day long. And I have three scarves I love. Having three scarves and loving all of them makes for the dilemma of which one to choose, and the fact that scarves have never been a high-usage article of clothing for me. Well, I think now they will be, and I will finally rest assured that it is not stupid to own three scarves for one person. (They were all gifts, I promise! ;)

Caroline dropped a bracelet on the floor, and it slid under her dresser. Her dresser has an opening on the front bottom edge, but not on the back, so when she pulled the dresser away from the wall, the bracelet was just pushed along with the dresser rather than appearing on the floor behind the dresser. Caroline cried out in true anxiety, "Oh, no!!! My bracelet is lost FOREVER!!!" All i could think of was Homer Simpson trying to open the can of pudding:

Yesterday, Caroline put on her pajamas and exclaimed, "Hey, my sleeves are too short!" Without missing a beat, Cecilia looked at her and said laughingly, "Yeah, and your neck is too long!"

Cecilia has a new habit of asking me if I can scratch her various itches. I have tried explaining to her that when there is an itch on her back, I would be happy to scratch it for her, but itches on one's own hands are best scratched by the person who has the itch!

Random photo of Cecilia eating a St. Nicholas cookie

So, I think that most products marketed as being for babies are a waste of money and not necessary anyway, but I found one that tops pretty much every other lame or extravagant baby product out there: the "Eco Cradle."

Just look at this thing!!! It's like one of those under-bed storage boxes that are made of corrugated cardboard that you assemble yourself (back in the 80's, before Rubbermaid owned the world of storage containers) - it even has the same kind of handles! "Hi, I put my baby in a cardboard box to sleep, because it's trendy to be an environmentalist!" How about I market the most eco-friendly baby bed out there: the non-existent baby bed, because it is just the family bed, which I already own! Gosh, and that actually makes me wonder how many old cribs and bassinettes are in landfills, anyway? They have new safety standards all the time, and recalled items, so that's sure to really pile up over time. But I think being environmentally-friendly would be about the bazillionth reason on my list of why my babies sleep in my bed. ;)

Since when did "my bad!" become an acceptable version of the phrase "excuse me," particularly when speaking to a stranger? A young adult of the male variety was being goofy in the middle of the aisle in Kroger today, and when he noticed I was pushing a cart in that aisle, he moved aside and said, "Oh, my bad!" So strange! Then the female who was with him said, "Please, please run over him!" I had never seen these people before in my life, and I am also pretty sure they were above college-aged, so as far as I can tell, they don't have any excuse. ;)

Oh, and in Kroger also today, I saw somebody with a Scion jacket... it was a jacket with the Scion logo and word all over it about 100 times. I thought that was a little... different.

As I walked through the mall today (without my children! ;), I saw a pretty funny thing that in retrospect, I should've snapped a photo of... it was a saucer chair sitting outside a store, and on it was a sign that read: "Stocking Stuffer $59.99." I don't know anybody who can fit a saucer chair into a stocking, nor do I know anyone who spends $60 on a single stocking gift!

Okay, so this post has gone on long enough, and has been compiling for a couple weeks now, so I think it's time to stop!


LIFE in POTS said...

First, I understand the need to rant :) Two thoughts.
1)your time in the OT waiting room as a chance to teach the girl what a real mother looks and acts like. I know that one of the major reasons women don't know how to nurse is because it hasn't been done in public for so long that they have never seen it. So maybe God put the two of you there for her to learn.
2) We always put our tree up the first Sunday in Advent and left everything up until Three Kings Day. Advent is about learning to prepare and learning how to wait. I think, if done right and done for God, more kids would learn patience and not just be unmanageable for the entire month of December.

Thanks for always posting such awesome blogs. My mom died a year before I had my son, I always appreciate reading about other women raising Catholic families, since my main support in that is now gone.

Carrie said...

ha ha ha ha! Thanks for the smiles!

Carrie said...

by the way, that cardboard crib cracks me up!!!! I can't imagine coming up with that idea in the first place.

Kris said...

Whew, you're on a tear today!! I have to agree with you about the waiting room - my son is starting speech therapy in January and we experienced the same group of people in the waiting room there. All walks of life. Not sure about the water polo with the inner tubes - my oldest son plays water polo for his high school and it's a very demanding and manly sport - the caps aside..!! But definitely no inner tubes. My guess is some fraternity or intermural thing going on. As for college students - I agree! My daughter is in college and she is studying to be a teacher and she's having difficulty with a professor right now because she has to work next semester in a school on a proejct. She has asked to be placed in a school that is on the bus line because, wait for it, SHE HAS NO CAR...!! I said - surely you can't be the only person with no car. Don't they have to make accomodations for that? Her response was that she pretty much IS the only person with no car. In my universe, you own a car when you can take full financial responibility for it, and since she's not there yet, and there is a perfectly good bus system at her school, no need for a car. Chalk that up to MEAN parenting....!!

Erin said...

Yes, the thought does cross my mind each time I encounter somebody who is appalled/confused/shocked when I am nursing in public that perhaps this little bit of exposure to nursing will help to normalize it for them. The more people see babies and toddlers nursing around them, the more normal it will become!

I know of some families that put up the tree at the beginning of Advent and use it as a Jesse tree and then redecorate it a couple days before Christmas as the Christmas tree. I have also heard of a family making ornaments for each saint or special feat day in December on those dates and then adding them to their tree slowly. I think it is interesting to read about how different Catholic families make the Advent season work for them in a way that minimizes the secular materialistic craziness! There are so many ways to do it... ways that don't involve tossing the tree out on the 26th because it has been up since Thanksgiving Day! ;) We also leave ours up through Epiphany, and we are the only ones in our neighborhood who still have our outdoor lights on thru January 6th... oh well. A neat idea that I heard from another Catholic mom is to put up and turn on outdoor and tree lights on the 13th, St. Lucy's feast day, since her name means "light." I decided to adopt that tradition for our family... we can still turn on the lights for the last week or two of Advent, but we have attached a meaning to it.

Kris, I didn't start out with a car at college, and I was doing okay at first, but then my roommate turned out to be into drugs and alcohol, and my mom didn't want me to rely on somebody like that for a ride to Wal-Mart!! So they sold me my dad's old car... which was actually newer then (about 8 years) than either of my cars are now (almost ten years and 14 years!)... funny, I hadn't thought of that, although it was a junk car (and the ones I own now are more reliable, long-lasting brands), which I drove until I killed its engine in 2001, ha ha. Sadly, it is hard to go to the college I attended without a car, because the town has pretty limited bus service, and we also had to go to local schools for our education classes. I wish things were closer together, because I don't want to think my kids have to have cars their first year in college... if they do, it will be some good old junkers like my husband and I drove in college! His was a 1987 model and he drove it for several years after we graduated in 2001... older car than mine, but lasted longer because Corollas always seem to outlast Ford Tauruses, ha ha!! So even ten years ago, most kids at this college had their own cars, but it didn't seem like so many of them were just a couple years old the way it appears today when I drive thru the parking lots! They do have a college bus, but it only goes around the campus, and the students are always demolishing it... they literally broke the backs of the seats off (how do you even do that??) and kept driving it under and overhang that was too low and tearing up the roof...

Anonymous said...

Funny comments! Waiting rooms drive me nuts too. That is why we never go to the dr. unless it is unavoidable. My pet peave is people who are always at the dr. for something like people who go for every cold. Most of the time the dr. can't do anything and they will get over it. With 5 kids it is a little easier to not be a hypochondriac b/c there is no way I am sitting there with 5 kids under 7! Most people waste all that money on stuff kids get over or outgrow just fine with no dr. We put up our tree last weekend and I get decorations out as soon as advent starts. Honestly, I am so excited about Christmas, I don't mind a lot of that stuff and my kids are excited but not crazy at least not more than normal. We can still get plenty done. I can't wait to see family for the holidays and do all the Christmas stuff and we write letters to loved ones and do the angel tree. I do think it is good that your kids aren't asking for a long list of things. My kids (the older 3) all had very specific things they want this year. I can't believe you pay all that for Berry and you have to deal with all that. And long reply but the "stocking stuffer" chair I pointed out to Heath last week when we were there too. So funny! That is more expensive than any gift we got the kids and it says a stocking stuffer, like you could put that huge chair in a stocking!