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.

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Doubt August 14, 2009

Filed under: Life with 2 kids,Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 11:24 am

A therapeutic phone chat with a KT BFF earlier this week is prompting today’s post. I don’t know if misery loves company or if I always feel better just knowing that I’m not totally failing nor am I alone in my doubts, but it was just the sort of conversation I needed.

The thing is, I am typically a very confident person. I don’t really waiver on things or get all insecure. And we know I certainly loathe mommy guilt. I think it’s BS.

Don’t worry, I have gone all rogue George Bush on you, I’m not above an apology or admitting when I’m wrong. And I know how to pronounce simple words, like “nuclear.” Though it seems I yell these days more than I’d like too.

Anyhow, the continued growth and development of DD2 is a fabulous thing. She is 100% goofball, all smiles, and she is very active, crawling, cruising and working very hard to walk in an effort to keep up with her busy older sister. What this means, however, is that each day she becomes more time consuming.

And seeing as how there is only one of me and two of them for 10 hours a day, I am spread real thin. This is a phenomenon that is taking a lot of time for me to adjust too. It’s huge.

The thing about adjusting to life with two, is that it’s a long slow process, thank god. In those beginning months, the baby doesn’t do anything but sleep eat and poop, as we know. While those things are more time consuming than I had remembered them to be, they are basic and simple tasks, and generally we felt that DD1 had no real change in her life with the addition of a new baby sister. At first.

But then DD2 kept growing and getting more active and seeking more attention. And this is what leaves me riddled with doubt most of the time.

Before I quit working and spent my days at home, I imagined how my time would be spent. In reality, my time is split between shepherding between the needs of both girls, intercepting the breaking of fingers of the baby, cleaning up messes from art projects and cooking projects with DD1, tearing through the playrooom like a crazed maniac as DD2 heads for the very dangerous and small parts toys from DD1 things that I was just sorta hoping she wouldn’t notice even though I knew she would, and changing diapers and giving bottle feeds and other meals.

Etc etc.

My point – the amount of “quality” time where one of them is getting my attention is very limited. Like barely any of it. This is hard for me to get my head around. It leaves me wondering, could I be spending my extremely limited “down time” differently to give them more attention, especially DD2. It seems that she’s always just sort of hanging out. When she is playing, I figure she’s happy and she can play without my full attention (unlike DD1), so I leave her be. If I hear crying, I actually ignore it until it reaches some kind of fever pitch because I figure they are working it out.

Yes. An 8 month old is working it out. You’ve heard of that before, haven’t you?

Anyhow – I find myself stuck in a place that is new to me – this place of constantly second guessing myself and worrying that there isn’t enough of me to go around. Again, no guilt, just some difficulties in adjusting to life with two. A life that is never dull for one moment, that is for sure.

 

Paula & Hillary August 12, 2009

Filed under: Celebrities — Wired_Momma @ 11:22 am

Let’s take a minute to talk about two women in the news for two different and important reasons.

First – Paula Abdul. By now we all know that Paula quit her job with American Idol and it’s apparently over a dispute regarding her salary. If you believe the reports, she was earning $2 million a year to Ryan Seacrest’s $15 million or Simon Cowell’s $38 million. Setting aside how absurd these annual salaries are, can you blame her? Sure, we can understand why Simon Cowell makes more, he is the creator of the show. But why is someone like Ryan Seacrest making so much more than Paula?

This strikes me as another example of women being grossly underpaid against men and this woman is taking a stand. Now, perhaps she was hoping the producers of the show would counter-offer with a more similarly priced salary as say Ryan, and it doesn’t seem that is happening – but still – I think what Paula is doing is important and hopefully inspiring other women to ask for more.

Now, let’s not forget that I am moderately annoyed and beyond surprised that I am blogging about Paula Abdul as a female role-model, but then again, some of my favorite things come from the grocery store, so who am I anymore?

Moving on.

Hillary.

I’m sure you’ve all seen her outburst yesterday in Congo over someone in the audience asking her for her husband’s opinion. Sure, everyone says now that student meant to ask what President Obama thinks. Sure Hillary totally pounced on the dude. But now she is being vilified in the press. It’s like this woman can’t get a break – and I generally don’t even really care for her. Would the media pay an ounce of attention to the press if a man responded this way if he thought someone was asking what his high profile wife thought? I don’t think so. He would seem confident and in command for reprimanding someone and putting them back in their place.

Yet Hillary seems emotional and “tired” from her trip. Some pundits are making excuses for her.

Come on. She reacted. She is human. She is the secretary of state and ought to react if someone is seemingly putting her down. I mean, didn’t the Koreans call her a “funny woman” and a “school girl” just like two weeks ago.  The press coverage of her is incredibly chauvinistic and it’s a shame her reaction is over-shadowing her presence in Congo, a country where over 200,000 women and children have been raped in a few months, the most dangerous place on earth for women. That is the real story here people.

 

The KT List August 11, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 1:24 am

I figured, Oprah does it, so why can’t I? So today, you are gonna get the inaugural KT “My Favorite Things” List.

Over the course of the past few weeks, I seized on the opportunity to go to the grocery store without my two children. It’s amazing how quickly and efficiently you can tear through a grocery store when you’re up against the great baby-preschooler clock….it’s like I can hear the hands tick-tocking at full blast in my head as I bolt through the aisles hoping for the best. But see, at least they keep me straight, DD1 and DD2. When they are along, if it ain’t on the list, it ain’t in the cart. There’s no dawdling in grocery shopping with children.

So, on these rare and wonderful opportunities to peruse the grocery store solo (and also noteworthy, I was headed to a very well-stocked and brand new grocery store by my mom’s house. Apparently I live in communist Russia circa 1982 because the Safeway by my house is so sparse, I’m in shock when I can even find a packet of frozen chicken, let alone a package of diapers) – I found some of the leading contenders in the KT list.

Now – before we go any further – let’s review some of the sad and pathetic realities of my inaugural KT list.

One – I have made it clear that I ENJOY going to the grocery store (without children). PC (pre-children), I loathed going to the grocery store. Now, I don’t really think about it, except when I’m cursing and banging my cart around my communist safeway (truthfully, i don’t go there – it’s gross. only DH gets sent there when we are low on something stupid. otherwise I just go to Whole Foods. It’s not dirty. And the flowers are pretty. Like me. Plus most Targets have groceries now thus my bi-monthly $400 benders).

Two – the items I am most excited about on my very own hot list – are from the GROCERY STORE.

Not a cool store.

Or a boutique.

Or Europe.

Or even freaking Macys.

But the GROCERY STORE.

Pathetic?

Yes.

Efficient and realistic?

Yes.

So let’s get started.

The new John Frieda Root Awakening Shampoo and Conditioner has changed my life. When I am done blow drying my hair after a shampoo with it, I look like I’ve just stepped out of the salon. Not to mention how fabulous my hair smells. I swear, when I step out of the bathroom, there is a fan blowing my hair just perfectly off my face and I can hear a gasp of pleasure from the crowd.

I actually look forward to showering so that I can use it and smell it and be oh-so-pretty. C’est vrai. Even in this 100 degree heat, for a few minutes, before I am lapping the house after a child or I step outside for one second, my hair looks good.

My other fav grocery store item – Nivea’s Touch of Happiness body wash. It might even make me happy. Seriously. Love it. I love it so much, that in anticipation of the communist regime here in Maryland, I swooped the last two off the shelves the other day at Target, figuring I’d never see it again.

I love to shower.  I smell pretty.

Now – for a non-hygienic tip – ummm….the move Julie & Julia. Shame on you if you haven’t seen it yet. Clearly if you haven’t seen this movie then you don’t love the following things:

France

Butter

Food

Super fun Valentine’s Parties

Did I mention food?

Seriously – the movie had me on a high for like an entire day and I can’t wait to see it again.

And while we are on the subject of media, I am obsessed with Discovery Health’s “I didn’t know I was pregnant“. It airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm, I think. And I really can’t look away. Are these women seriously in that much denial? Is it really possible to be in labor and NOT notice you were pregnant?  Can you really be that stupid or is denial really that powerful? Whatever the case may be, it is so incredulous, this show, that I really can’t get enough of it. Tune it. Tuesday nights are lame anyway.

After spending much of the summer at the beach, I would love to be writing about my new favorite beach cover-up that suits the needs of a busy mom on the beach – a mom who might have a few curves, shall we say, a mom who wants to look stylish and hip but is wearing something practical (and I might add, without long sleeves because unlike most beach cover-up makers, I tend to go to beaches were it’s, umm, hot out) – but I still have yet to find said beach cover-up. I keep looking and looking. This cover-up will make it to the top of my list when I find her. I have to believe she is out there.

I thought about writing about some of my favorite things for DD1 and DD2. But let’s keep this about me, shall we?

Tune in again kittens. This won’t be my first and last KT List.

 

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?

 

Perfection August 4, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 6:37 pm

There’s this idea floating out there that simultaneously perplexes me and irritates the hell out of me. It’s this notion of being the perfect whatever – perfect mother, perfect body, perfect spouse (puke), perfect employee. Perfection.

What does that mean?

And what happens when you are perfect?

And who decides what makes you perfect?

With motherhood, is it being happy and patient with your children, always having cleverly planned activities for them balanced with developmental playtime at home? Is it also balancing your career and your house and your marriage while being a superb mother? Is it also having a great body and perfectly coiffed hair and outfits whenever you step out of your home?

Give me a freaking break.

Seriously – it’s the same as striving to be some kind of supermom. Or super-employee. Or model like body.

Why do people hold themselves up to this unattainable and absurd standard all the time? Why do I constantly hear people talking about it? What does any of it prove? Are people really so insecure that somehow they believe that if they attain this definition of perfection, then their life will somehow improve?

And why does it irritate me so? I mean, I am dramatically rolling my eyes and throwing up in my mouth whenever I hear someone say it – whether it’s some naive preggo who has no idea what kind of mack truck is going to hit them when the baby arrives or some annoying parent or some dumb TV anchor doing another feature on supermoms.

I think it annoys me because it’s a waste of time and emotion.
But the truth is, we all hold ourselves up against someone for some reason. We might not admit it, but I’m pretty sure we do – even if we know it’s silly – we are still doing it. Even if we’re not even striving for perfection. Sometimes I might just be striving to get out the door with brushed teeth.

Usually, I think this happens because someone in our circle of friends has achieved a milestone in their life that we haven’t but very much want too – whether that be career accomplishments, marriage, the birth of a child, buying a new home. Maybe for some it’s even buying a vacation home.

Last week, I read a column in the Washington Post by Carolyn Hax about this very topic. I really recommend everyone read it. The basic idea being that someone was dining with friends, all of whom are married, all the wives pregnant, and everyone seemingly successful professionally.

On the surface, it seems like this group of friends have all achieved perfection and oddly, at the same time in their lives.

Meanwhile the person writing in is single, not happy in her career and battling depression. She was looking for advice on how to not seem like a basket case in comparison. Carolyn’s response was brilliant, in my view, because she really pointed out the perspective that life is a long, windy road with many ups and downs, and what this person was getting at the dinner was a snapshot in time of those people’s lives.

This really struck a chord with me.

It’s very easy to make assumptions when all you have is a snapshot – the whole picture is never quite what it seems.

It was a healthy dose of “grass is always greener” perspective. I urge you to read it. Even if I am a week late in writing about it.

 

Crime & Punishment July 26, 2009

Filed under: Life with 2 kids,Motherhood,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 8:04 pm

All of you avid KT fans out there know that we talk a lot about disciplining preschoolers here on KT. I have a veritable hoodlum living chez moi and as any parent knows, we must creatively re-invent our punishments constantly, otherwise they fall on deaf ears.

My current punishment du jour is this “If you land in 2 time outs, then you don’t get a popsicle for lunch.” (This is usually threatened by oh – about 6:24am, with the first time out locked in by 7am. And of course, I am pretty generous, for to use the timeout too much with my hoodlum is a total waste of time and energy).

It’s working. But this one has only been used for a few days.

Ahh…behold the power of the sweet, easy to melt, unbelieveably cheap popsicle. Who knew?

The old rules chart worked pretty well for about 2 weeks. Then it lost its luster. The cheap thrill of drawing a smiley face next to one of the followed rules quickly grew boring. And really, who can blame her.

I’m thinking of bringing back the rules chart, however, as it’s been a few weeks and I scored some new stickers at Target’s One Spot (where, am I alone in this, I easily wrack up like $20 to my final bill because not everything is $1).

But here is my current dilemma – finding a punishment that solely punishes DD – not me. I am not alone here people. If I take away, say, cartoons – then who am I really punishing when the going gets tough?
Me.

So I try to take away things that I either don’t care about (like popsicles) or things that tend to drag on into perpetuity (songs, stories at bed time).  Again – I should get a reward for having to endure the crime, no?

What I’m desperately searching for is a creative list of things I can also take away from her that again, only punish her, and not me. I am all ears for any ideas here…..please….I bet of you……help a sister out.

Here is a list of some offenses that warrant punishment:

Pinching mommy because she doesn’t like what I’ve just said

Assaulting baby sister under the guise of “gently playing like such a good big sister”

Taking all of baby sister’s toys away from her and then hiding from her – with the toys- because she can now crawl

The old power trip that started with the arrival of baby sister “No, I don’t want daddy to take me out of my carseat, I want mommy to do it” (because mommy has baby sister, basically whomever is preoccupied with baby sister then becomes the only person who can complete the task and this gets old after about 10 seconds but a heartfelt battle inevitably ensues several times a day complete with kicks and screams)

I could go on and on with the lists of crimes but what I’m looking for are creative punishments. And spanking – doesn’t work on this kid – I tried it. I was never sure if I would spank her. Not because I am opposed to spanking but because I just never was sure if the crime would warrant the spank. Oh indeed, that day did come and it was just obvious that the only appropriate response would be to spank her and then send her to her room.

She didn’t care. And she also likes going in time out. I’ll say “Do you want to go in time out?”

And her response is “yes.”

OK then.

Hence the need to take things away…things that only punish her and not me…..put your thinking caps on kittens…..for I am all ears.

Signed,

Pleading for ideas