Kitty Time

Motherhood, babies, life, celebrities, politics…kitty’s claws come out when she’s in the mood.

Your Baby is Smarter than You August 16, 2009

Filed under: Preschool — Wired_Momma @ 6:22 pm

An op-ed in today’s New York Times got my attention, as its headline intended too: “Your Baby Is Smarter Than You Think.”

It immediately pissed me off. Now, as a general rule of thumb, I am typically walking around in public, sizing up adults or eavesdropping on conversations, and presuming (or knowing)  I am way smarter than that asshole right there. Be sure that when I see clips of the idiots screaming like their hair is on fire at these health care town hall meetings, I am pretty confident they aren’t smarter than I think.

But babies and preschoolers, come on. Who the f doesn’t think their kid is smart?

So in classic KT form, I continued to read it because I was fired up.

The beginning of the second paragraph had me questioning not just the author’s intelligence but the intelligence of the editors of the op-ed page of the NYT. We are told that new studies are showing that babies and toddlers observe and explore more than we previously thought.

How groundbreaking.

OK. Have these people ever spent any time with kids not in a lab rat experimental sense? Isn’t the intelligence, creativity, razor sharp memory and persistent exploration of babies and toddlers, what makes them so enriching, exasperating and fabulous to have around? Aren’t these qualities some of the very reasons many of us suckers go on to add to our brood?

So to any parent out there who actually needed to read this article to learn something –  like your baby is smart and can understand  cause and effect (which by the way those Baby Center weekly updates already tell you), or your toddler plays in creative ways while the way you learn is through following the rules – then I hope your kid turns out to be brighter than you.

Reading this entire piece was such an insult to any parent who actually pays attention to and plays with their child, rather than spending all their time shopping for Baby Einstein DVDs, that I still can’t believe it made its way into the Sunday NYT.  The lesson that babies and children are intelligent sponges who learn by playing is like – the most basic foundation of parenthood – right? Come on NYT op-ed page.

Honestly, for me, one of the biggest adjustments to parenthood came when DD1 had only a  few words but could understand what we were saying, what we were asking her to do, and the basic world around her. She continuously caught me by surprise and threw me when she would respond in such a way that she knew what I asked, showed me that she remembered something that happened months ago that my alcohol socked, sleep deprived, pathetic excuse of a memory had long forgotten, or showed me a more exciting use for a regular old household item.

Isn’t that parenthood? Not just a testament to my child’s superior intelligence, of course.

Anyhow, read the piece if you want too. I’d love to know if you thought it was as much of a waste of time as I did.

 

The Squeaky Wheel August 7, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool — Wired_Momma @ 7:10 pm

I grew up in a household where the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” was embedded in our brains from a very early age. If any injustice was brought upon myself or any of my three other sisters, there was hell to pay, via my  mother. I vividly remember her at school and going to parent meetings with a list. At times, I found it embarrassing, but sometimes it was awesome. Like when it was 60 below zero in Iowa City in the winter of 1994 and my friends and I asked my mom to call the president of the University to express her horror that classes hadn’t been cancelled.  Sadly her complaints didn’t work that time.  But we appreciated her moxie.

Anyhow – don’t get me wrong. I know and believe there is a difference between complaining too much and speaking up when it’s important. I don’t want my feelings to fall on deaf ears (a lesson DD1 is learning now because she dramatically exclaims “owwwww” to everything, my fav being when I apply sun block. Yeah, that hurts, kid.).

One example is it seems every spring, there is an increase in the number of unleashed dogs by the swings at the playground in my hood. I find this totally unacceptable and it frankly enrages me. So every year I post some scathing email on our hood list serv. What shocks me is the number of people who email me privately to thank me for posting, how they feel the same but fear posting something. What the f? What do they think is going to happen to them? Some neighbor is going to egg their house? I mean – hello – it’s against the law in our county to have your dog off the leash.  Not to mention it is putting your young child at risk when unleashed dogs approach them – why would I keep my mouth shut? It shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.

And so this brings me to today’s issue – which is not against the law – and was new territory for me. We were at a playdate with DD1’s new school classmates and one mom got to telling us that one of the kids in the class has such severe allergies that last year in the 3s class, they couldn’t have playdoh because she might put it in her mouth, they could only bring goldfish and saltines for class snack and that class wasn’t able to participate in the  fun cooking projects they do on occasion.

I was dumbfounded. First of all, teach your kid not to put things in her mouth that are so dangerous. Second, let that kid’s parents bring a separate snack -why should all the other kids have to eat goldfish as snack for 9 months? She eats lunch at school – so clearly she can be around other food and the school is already a nut-free zone.

But it’s the no cooking that gets me. Why should 7 other kids have been penalized all year just because of that kid and her allergies? If it’s so bad, then the parents should keep her home on the cooking days. Why did all those other kids have to miss out too?

And what was up with the parents in that class for tolerating and accepting that? Am I a bitch or are we too accepting and sympathetic of a society sometimes?

After running my intentions by my husband, the old filter in our house, I emailed the teacher to inquire if all of this was true and if the same restrictions would apply to this year’s class? I have a real beef with the cooking issue though I also think 4 year olds can learn to not put playdoh in their mouths (and should be way beyond that point anyway). I haven’t gotten a response just yet. My email was polite and a simple inquiry.

But mark my words – no kid of mine is missing out on the cooking at school this year. What would you have done?

 

Quiet June 22, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 8:08 pm

I think the collective sigh of relief must have been heard around the neighborhood today…..summer camp started at DD1’s school.

I know I wasn’t the only relieved looking parent peeling into the parking lot as the clock struck 9am (somehow I have trouble being so on-time for pick-up….)

Never, ever, in my life have I been so thrilled for summer camp. Well, it’s also DD1’s first time attending summer camp. But seeing as how she was sick as a dog and missed the last two weeks of school, she’s basically been home full-time and lacking the structure of school for a month now.

Add in the fact that it’s like freaking Northern Europe except no where as cool and the beer isn’t as good – in that it’s been raining every single day for like this entire past month – and you can see that it is a recipe for bad behavior.

It finally dawned on me on Friday night when we were having dinner with friends (whose rooftop deck includes an amazing view of the Capitol, Library of Congress and Washington Monument…amazing). One friend noted that her 4 year old had been acting so bad lately and she was sure it was because it’s been a while since she’s been in school.

Ahh yes! No wonder the Tasmanian devil has re-entered my home. Of course! Was I so tired and so exhausted and so beaten down that I couldn’t piece this together on my own? I mean, for months, we actually referred to DD1 as “The Taz.”

And trust me, Taz has been back.  And with the return of  The Taz has come the return of the “Rules Chart.”

Anyone else have one of these displayed prominently in their house? Ahh….the joys of being 3. Curious about the rules?

“Obey Mommy and Daddy” tops the list….this seems like a broad-sweeping category that will be conveniently used as a threat, by moi, whenever I can’t think of anything else

“No Whining” comes in a close second. I mean really. Whining sucks. It’s painful.

“Put on your shoes when asked”

“Come to the table when asked”

“Be quiet outside baby’s room”

“Turn off the TV when asked”

Round out the remainder of the list.

Riveting, isn’t it?

Like I said…thank god for camp.

So after DD2 and me dropped off DD1 at camp…..we came home…..had a bottle…..DD2 had a nap…and suddenly I realized….everything is so QUIET.

I felt like I could hear myself think for the first time in a month. I mean seriously. I could finally hear a coherent thought. Never a deep thought but still – I could hear myself think. And we know my thoughts are precious.

Camp lasts every day this week. One full glorious week of daily camp until 1:30pm. I used to think camp was expensive.

Now I think it’s a god send.

 

It’s A Little People World June 11, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool — Wired_Momma @ 6:36 pm

There was a time when I would discuss things like celebrity gossip and awesome summer shoes with my BFFs. We would send links. Links to breaking gossip, links to great shoes, links to reviews of new cool restaurants in town.

Now?

Now.

The most recent link I received in a group email with the BFFs was a link to a list of the best parks in the area.

And I got excited about it. I book marked it. Then the next day I loaded the two kids up into the car and drove 25 minutes to one of the parks listed.

I drove.

TWENTY FIVE MINUTES.

Even though I can walk to a park in my hood.

And then I told some other friends at preschool about the link. And about the park I drove too.

And then I realized – this is f’ing pathetic. We are all excited about it. We are all talking about it. And no, it’s not about Angie and Brad or summer espadrilles. I don’t even know what’s going on in those areas anymore. It is parks. WE aren’t cool. This includes you too.

But see, it doesn’t end there. The kinds of things we discuss doesn’t just stop there.

And I am caught up in the visual aspect of one of the things we’ve discussed lately.

See, one KT BFF realized one day that there are lots of people out there who look like Little People. You know, the Fisher Price Little People. Don’t pretend like you haven’t noticed that the guy at the gas station looks remarkably similar to the dude driving your kids  Little People bus.

It’s a Little People world, kittens.

They are EVERYWHERE.

Many even have those same dumb smiles pasted on their faces.

It can make even the mom in the worst mood of all times, laugh, on occasion.

So keep an eye out, and you’ll start spotting them. EVERYWHERE

And in the meantime, just ‘fess up, the links you are sending probably aren’t that cool anymore either.

 

The Minivan Mafia June 1, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool — Wired_Momma @ 3:54 pm

I’ve posted before on some of the things I didn’t anticipate about having two kids…..and I can tell you….there is one thing that never even occurred to me and it is the bane of my existence, my least favorite part of the day, the thing I hate the most…..have I made myself clear? Are you curious yet?

Ahh…..what is it, you wonder curiously..

THE PRESCHOOL PARKING LOT.

And Minivans.

SOMEONE KILL ME NOW.

Prior to becoming a mom of two, I never once considered the preschool parking lot. Also – I didn’t go that often because our old nanny would take DD1 and pick her up the majority of the time.

Parking lots are a funny thing. But for some reason, they are inherently social. People love to stand around and gab in them. Teens love to skip school and smoke cigarettes, thinking they are cool, in them.  Some people get lucky in them. Lots of things happen in a parking lot. But a preschool parking lot is a whole different orbit.

And the grand enemy of the preschool parking lot is the mom running late driving a minivan.

And the people that loiter forever.

Why, you ask?

Because the loiterers get there early and are the last to leave…and they hog all the prime spots closest to the front door of the school. And the moms running late in minivans do this – they zip into a spot, don’t care that they are close to the line because their door slides open, and they move on.

So enter the mom who also (perpetually) runs late but drives a four door sedan – and guess what – OH – she cannot park in these spots because the jerks in the minivans didn’t take the time to straighten out.

Why does this matter, you ask?

Because when you have two children, you need to use both doors to get both children out of the car – and if you can’t open the door wide enough on one side to get the absurdly large and heavy infant car seat out – or wide enough to even get your toddler out – then this spot is rendered useless. It is a waste. It is just being horded for some other late mom driving a minivan. It’s almost like the minivan mafia, come to think of it.

Chalk this up as another reason I despise the minivan. (Is it me or are most husband-wife teams split on the issue of the minivan? One parent is pro-minivan and the other is adamantly anti-minivan. You know where KT stands. ANTI. This actually stands as a legit reason to not have a third child, in my head, to avoid the minivan).

OK – so that is part of it.

Then there’s just the reality that it is a total freaking pain in the ass to drag a baby into preschool. That carseat is so heavy, you’ve inevitably woken them from an otherwise quiet and peaceful nap, and as the weeks pass, they quickly get too heavy in the carseat so then you have to get them out of the carseat and carry them in, while holding the toddler’s hand and carrying her schoolbag and lunch, while making sure you are keeping your eye out for moving vehicles that you can be sure your toddler isn’t really paying attention too.

It really isn’t pleasant or awesome. I am sure there are easier ways to do it (arriving on time could be one but that is too hard). And you better believe that after many very sleep deprived nights, I almost left a few ranting nasty notes on the windshields of those minivans barking at them to move the F*ck over and learn how to park straight so the rest of us can park next to them instead of 10 miles from the front door of the school, thank you very much. And kiss my white ass while I’m at it.

I haven’t.

But man have I been close. REAL close.

I know there are people out there who feel my pain. And if you don’t have two kids yet and one in preschool – then your time will come and I’ve warned you. And if you happen to be driving a minivan by the time this happens to you, park straight in the spot, will ya? If you join the Minivan Mafia I will cut you off.