Monday, September 26, 2011

Can't type. Busy doing homework.

I have no time! Where is all the time? Who stole my time?
I know I promised to try to post every day for 30 days, and I went right ahead and did not do that at all, and now it's like 847 days later, and I think I'm averaging about 2 posts a month. I blame my children (because they can't read this and it's better than saying that I'm clearly crap at time management.)

Anyway, I've been busy nursing O's head (bumped it again today, still looks like a Klingon, in case anyone is interested), trying to get him to wear something other than a princess dress, and doing M's homework with her. And working. And occasionally doing some shopping. Also, eating cheese.

Homework is more time consuming that I remember. From what I can recall, homework did not take very long, and at age five it certainly was not necessary five nights a week, which is about what we are doing. There are two whole books to read every week! And words to learn to write! And drawings! It's all very overwhelming. For me. M seems mostly OK with it, except we have a hard time figuring when to fit it in.

Before school? Sleepy, interferes with coffee breakfast, making lunch, getting dressed and O jumping all over us.
Right after school and before a sports lesson? Hmm, interferes with snack time and hard to focus with O jumping all over us.
After sports? Tired and interferes with dinner and O jumping all over us.
After dinner? Even more tired and not concentrating and again with O and the jumping. Also, interferes with being read TO.
Weekend? Ugh. And more O jumping.

We'll get there, possibly once O goes to college.

We are still in that hard stage where we still have to sit down and do M's homework WITH her. Once she gets older, she can do it on her own, but right now we have to do all the reading and writing together. I'm sure it gets better, and if you know any differently, keep it to yourself.

Off to finish dinner. For some reason, I decided lamb roast and celery root gratin was a good idea on a Monday, after a day of work/homework/etc. See above re: time management skills. It's a good thing I'm helping Maya with all her learning; she's obviously going to be really smart.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who Needs Doctors When There's the Internet?

Well, hello.

What? Oh, that's just a photo of my son, O.

See, he bumps his forehead a lot, and when I say a lot, I mean ALL THE TIME and IN THE EXACT SAME SPOT. Jumping down the stairs, falling off sofas, playing Ring Around the Rosies, doing somersaults, bungee jumping, skydiving, whatever. So now there seems to be some sort of permanent lump on the right side, and I just feel better about the whole thing if I can dress him up in an alien costume. When he lets me take off his favorite pink princess dress and wings, that is. So, actually, it's more like

After much Googling, I took him to the doctor to express my worries about permanent dis-figuration, but she explained to me that he's two-and-a-half and short of putting him in a helmet and/or strapping him into the stroller every day all day, there's pretty much nothing you can do. Some kids just fall over a lot and tend to hurt themselves in the same places. Luckily the forehead is a pretty strong area, so give him some ibuprofen, ice it, and try not to spend so much time on the internet being a crazy person.

OK. Point taken.
(*Goes home and googles "clumsy kid relation to brain damage?*)

The doctor actually might have an excellent point about the Googling thing. I can really get myself ramped up looking up various childhood illness symptoms and linking them to the most horrible diseases on earth. Sniffles? Must be dangue fever! Sore belly? Definitely cancer. I know I'm being unreasonable when I do it, but it's really hard to stop myself.

I just feel like I might be more prepared if I have all the information. ALL OF IT. Even if it's irrelevant and taken out of context. Even if I have no medical training! Even I can't even spell dangue! (I mean dEngue! See, the internet DOES know things!) I'm trying to be better about it, but in asking the most innocent questions (How much Tylenol to give to a 13 kilo child?) you can get easily sidetracked by some horrible segue (Tylenol linked to death!). Recently, I've found it better to just call the doctor or make a quick appointment, so I can head myself off at the pass.

I felt better about the forehead situation after our visit, and we've started on the ibuprofen. Also in the interest of reducing head injuries, we made the bold move of removing the sides of his crib, which, in all its IKEA brilliance, turns into a cute toddler bed (assuming you can find the instructions, your allen key and some deeply buried reserves of patience). Now he can get in and out without diving headfirst from three feet off the ground.

I was worried he'd start getting up in the middle of the night, but so far he's stayed in bed, only coming in to our room around 6:30 a.m. It's probably because he's a good sleeper - that or he's scared of the little nighttime trolls living under his bed who like to bite the toes of boys getting up when it's still dark out.

Man, kids are so gullible!

Oh, don't worry, I'm just kidding. Trolls could give him nightmares! I actually said it was alligators.

In any case, it's been an okay transition so far. One major developmental thing down, only 54720 more to go (including potty training, getting rid of the pacifier, and learning to not shut drawers on your own fingers.)

Next time - How I tell M that TV will rot your brain and make it leak out of your ears unless she turns it off right NOW.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sexism. Or, How I Alienate The Men Reading This Blog

Departing a little bit from my normal variety of post, I wanted to share a link to a blog I follow called Mom-101:

She posted this a few days ago, and I've been putting off talking about it because I wasn't sure it fit in here, and I'm probably going to have to use my brain to type this post instead of writing children dumb make head hurt probably drink wine talk about poop.

So please go read it and then come back.

Hello, again. Doesn't she make an excellent point?

Honestly, I don't very often think about "sexism" as a concept or even particularly notice it in my daily life, not because it isn't there, but because it's subtle. As Mom-101 puts it:

Sexism is pervasive. It creeps into our daughter’s lives in stealthy ways, before they’re able to identify it and refute it. Before they’re able to understand irony. Before they’re able to separate out the messages we tell them at home from the ones they see on t-shirts or posters on the subway. Man, if only they were one and the same.

After reading that post, I brought up the subject with Husband. Let me say right now, that it would be a hard to find a more supportive, open-minded, liberal guy. He couldn't care less that his son dresses frequently in a hot pink sequin gown and at work has hired women in part time roles over full-time candidates because they were the best people for the job. He is the last person you could accuse of sexism.

When I told him about the post, I talked about it in terms of my job search and how difficult it was to find a role with the flexibility I want. I reminded him that it was mostly women who were looking for a part-time position (in 2006 in the UK 38% of women with dependent children worked part time compared with only 4% of men with dependent children.) Women are disproportionately affected by people not wanting to hire on a part time or flexible basis, by the fact that they also pay those part time workers less (never mind that the gender pay gap in the UK is already one of the highest in Europe, with women who work full time earning 17% less per hour than men.)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, he said. This has nothing to do with women, and you are confusing two totally different things. It's simply not economical for companies to hire on a part time basis. Rightly or wrongly, it's a business decision; it just happens to impact women more.

Which I understand. But I disagree. While it's not as obvious as my UK driving instructor telling me that I should pass my test based on the tightness of my jeans (true story), it's sexism none the less. The playground near my house is FILLED with smart, educated, motivated women (yes, mostly women) who are staying home to look after their kids. They probably all have different reasons, and I know some of them choose to be with their babies, but I would put money on the fact that quite a few are there because they couldn't find a decent paying (i.e. earns more than childcare costs), flexible role that is challenging and interesting and as good as the things they were doing full time before they had kids.

There are ways to economically hire people part time (job share comes to mind) and certainly all the women I've spoken with are incredibly dedicated and would make great employees. So why don't we fight more to do something about it? Why do we continue to accept this?

I think it has something to do with the fact that this is "the way that it is." It fits really nicely into the stereotypes we all accept and live with. We don't really think of it in the context of sexism and subtly teach our daughters it, like I'm doing right now as I stay home while Daddy works. It's easily overlooked, but as Mom101 put it, while one little thing like a t-shirt or a part time job might not be the end of the world, it's symptomatic of a larger problem, and I just wanted to call that out.

*Steps off soapbox*

Stats are from the Women's Resource Center: