Thursday, April 28, 2011


Sometimes moms forget to buckle their little boys into their strollers. The reason for this might sometimes be that the mom knows in the back of her mind that the child won't try to climb out and is too old to slip out. However, because the mother might normally buckle the child in anyway, it might also be partly due to forgetfulness.

In cases when this happens (or rather doesn't happen--the buckling, I mean), there are few surprises less welcome than, when the child has been peacefully sleeping in said stroller for some time, the stroller suddenly begins to slow, there are dragging sounds and then, unexpectedly, the sandal of the sleeping child appears near the mother's feet, coming out from under the back of the stroller. And however much the mother might hope he isn't, the child might still actually be wearing that sandal.

Yes, sometimes mothers run over their own children with their strollers, and the little ones sometimes get scratched up noses and chins.

But sometimes small children are far more traumatized by the sound of water popping in hot oil on the stove all the way across the kitchen of an evening than they were earlier in the day when their mother ran over them with with the stroller.

I will leave you to think about what an amazing imagination I have to come up with such a hypothetical.

Seriously, despite his VERY rude awakening, he needed only a good hug and some gentle wiping of his face and he was happy as ever. I, however, needed to hug him a little longer, and again every time I looked at his face for the next few hours. And he was hysterical over the sound of the oil popping.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Somebody or Nobody?

So anyway...

While she was cutting my hair, the beautician asked me what I do for work. When I told her that I stay home with my kids she paused, looked at me in the mirror and hesitantly started asking how I feel about that. I sort of cut her off (there's that phrase again) and said, "Oh yes, it's by choice! I love it." She gave a sort of half-believing, "O-kaaay."

Then I stupidly added that I do some writing from home sometimes, but I am able to be home with my kids full time.

This all reminded me of a bunch of similar experiences I've had here in Poland. In this country mothers just don't stay home with their kids. All kids attend preschool and often nursery, though many kids stay with their grandparents during the day until they are 3 years old (old enough for preschool).

In one of the English discussion classes I taught years ago I was very pleasantly surprised when, during introductions, one young woman said that she stayed home with her two year-old little girl. I jumped right on that! The first mother I'd ever met here who stayed home! I was obviously delighted and I asked her, "How do you like being at home?", excited to have something so important in common with another mother, happy to have met someone that maybe knew the value of --or at least had experienced the joy of-- spending all day working, playing and eating with your child. Someone who might really understand me.

She suddenly got a crazed look in her eye and said, "I hate it! I'm desperate to find a job! I really can't wait to get working." Oh. So never mind about that. Over the course of the semester, whenever she talked about her daughter it was usually only about what a burden she was.

In a different class a very feminist-type girl loved to talk about how terrible it must be to be home all day with your (my) kids, never doing anything, being totally tied down. She couldn't EVER imagine sitting at home babysitting all day, not being able to get up and go whenever and wherever she wanted. Kids belong in daycare. There are reasons people are paid to take care of kids. She said all this while talking about any possible future kids she may have, as if they would be adornments to be worn when it suited her. She wasn't even sure if she wanted any and I wasn't brave enough to suggest that she probably shouldn't bother.

Another actual feminist felt very differently, however. She thought it was great that I stay home with my kids. I told her that I thought feminists thought women should be out in the world making a difference and getting equal pay to men. She said that feminist believe that women should be able to do whatever they want, and since I obviously loved what I was doing any real feminist should think that was cool.

Before the hair cut, the most recent example, and the one that made me think the most, was when I was checking into the hospital to have Spencer. The nurse was taking down all my information. For occupation I said "mother". She asked what I do for work. I (or Greg) told her that I don't work outside the home. I stay home and take care of my kids. She jotted that down (or possibly wrote "N/A" or "unemployed" and I think there was a brief interchange about it.

A little later the subject came up again and Greg said, well, she's a writer, and explained that I do some freelance writing from home. The lady was hugely impressed. "A writer! Oh! Why on EARTH did you say "mother!?!" You're not unemployed! You have a great job!" She said and/or expressed as much on her face.

I was not flattered by her admiration. I was alarmed that typing things on a computer was something worth mentioning (and praising), while intensively spending my time trying to shape four human beings into the very best people they can be, dedicating all (okay, most) of my thoughts, prayers and energy to four little people that look to me to meet their needs, for direction and guidance in making good and right decisions, for unconditional love and acceptance and for everything else they need to be physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually ready to make their own way in the world--that didn't count for anything in the space on the sheet of paper that was supposed to tell What I Am.

But that is exactly What I Am. And it doesn't matter if not everyone understands this--But a mother is not a nobody. She is the most important kind of somebody.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cut Short

I finally did away with the terrible haircut I've been sporting for the last few months. The cut I got on Monday was nice except for the three major things that were wrong with it.

So I took scissors to my own hair for the first time ever. Let me tell you, in case you are unaware: cutting one's own hair requires an entirely different level of skill than cutting one's children and husband's hair. In case you have never tried it I will paint you a picture:

It's like writing a story in a foreign language left-handed while looking at the paper upside down and in a mirror. The one difference being that if you get it wrong you can't just crumple the paper up and try again. Instead you are doomed to feel lame or wear a paper bag over your head whenever you're in public OR cut your hair really, really short.

I now have a renewed respect for people who cut their own hair well. Respect and also a slight hesitancy to believe them. (still, mine isn't bad enough to require a paper bag or shorter cut, but I'm not sure yet about how embarrassed I should feel to be seen in public.)

So anyway,

Actually, never mind. That was all lead-up to what I actually wanted to post about which has virtually nothing to do with poor haircuts, cutting one's own hair or even writing in foreign languages. But I'll post that one another day because going to bed sounds so very much better at the moment than trying to remember my point. And plus, cutting this post off awkwardly seems very fitting.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Mind Dump

I'm getting excited for Conference. 2 1/2 hours to go! (the first session starts at 6pm here). Before that, though, I think it will help for me to empty my brain and thus I shall.
I'm in kind of a weird state. Between reading Mockingjay, watching Bourne Identity last night and thinking a lot about a facebook friend who just lost two of his fingers I just feel sort of in a war-ish haze. Remind me not to turn on CNN.

I would like to be like the facebook friend. A couple of days ago in his status update he said that by, way of update, he's been watching season 6 of Star Trek this week, made several observations about some of the characters and then at the end said "Oh, and I also crushed my hand and lost two of my fingers." I hoped it was an April Fools joke, but today he posted pictures. I commented that his hand is much cooler than everyone else's boring hands, that I was sorry and that I'm impressed with how upbeat he sounds. He replied that there's no use whining about it now. Then said, "...but for the record: I'd much rather have boring hands."

I think he's awesome.
Today I found a potato masher in one bathroom drawer and a remote control car in another.
Yesterday Aaron was running around the house, jumping into room after room declaring, "Mission COOOOM-PLETELY!!!"
Sometimes I feel wronged by my children and husband. In many ways they are good to me and make living with them worthwhile, but sometimes I just really, really want breakfast for dinner. I plan something delicious (pancakes with buttermilk syrup, french toast with strawberry freezer jam and whipped cream etc.) and every. single. one of them is disappointed when I announce what we're having or when they come sniffing into the kitchen.

It is one of the times I wish my nearest and dearest were a little more American. If I'd announced that we were having mushroom soup and pickled herring with sparkling water to drink they would have been delighted.
We had a wonderful dinner last night. Before we went into the kitchen to eat I told everyone, "You know how I like breakfast for dinner? (Evie already starts pulling a face) Well, today I decided we'd have dessert for dinner, just to be crazy. For April Fools' Day. I figured as long as we have a vegetable with it, we can call it dinner."
Sorry, this is the only picture anyone took
David almost cried after we made him taste the frosting and then told him he had to eat the whole cupcake. Of course it was a meatloaf cupcake with mashed potato frosting but I guess he doesn't love those kind of cupcakes. In all honesty it wasn't my favorite meal either... I could surely have gone for a REAL cupcake, though. Even if I had to eat all my peas. Next year I think I'll make a non-fake dessert for dinner on April 1st. Or maybe tomorrow night.
Oh good. I think there's a bit more room in my brain for important stuff now. Enjoy Conference, everyone!