Monday, December 29, 2008
A Night at the Movies
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Hear Ye, Hear Ye Childfreedom Readers!
If you would please take a moment and vote on the poll on the upper right, it would be most helpful.
More to come...
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Invasion of the Parking Spot Snatchers (and the return of Daisy Duke)
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Mom's Letter to Santa
"Dear Santa, I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.
Here are my Christmas wishes:
I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.
I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere.
If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.
On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.
I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog. If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.
If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely.
It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.
Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.
Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.
Yours Always, MOM"
Monday, December 8, 2008
The Joy of Nieces and Nephews
The entire day was so much fun from beginning to end and it put me completely into the Christmas spirit.
After we dropped them off and were driving home, I was marvelling at how two people who love kids so much want absolutely no part of having their own. People ask us this all the time - "you are SO GOOD with kids! But you don't want any??!!???" And I think I finally came up with an analogy that sheds light on this.
For us, having kids is like going to Manhattan. Hubby and me love taking day trips to Manhattan and always have such a great time. We board a train with our friends and we all sit together and laugh and talk. And the entire time we are in Manhattan we always have such a fun itinerary of things to do. The sights, sounds and excitement are exciting and so stimulating. We are on the go. The noise, the chaos, the frenetic tension of having to stay on your toes and the unpredictability is such a jolt.
It's also incredibly exhausting.
I can honestly say that when the day in Manhattan is over, the sense of relief I feel in arriving home to my quiet suburban home and collapsing into my peaceful bed is indescribable. As great as Manhattan is, for us it would be hell to live there. It's too noisy. It's too chaotic. It's too overwhelming. It's too BIG. It's too man-made. There's too much going on. It's too unpredictable. It's too expensive. There's no quiet. There's no peace. There's no time to just be. Does that mean it's not wonderful? No. It is, but in small doses.
The same goes for kids. I truly believe that one of the main reasons we are so good with kids and what makes our times with them so joyful is that they are novel. Our normally zenlike home home goes from zero to sixty on the chaos scale as soon as they walk in the door. And it zooms right back from sixty to zero the second they leave. We like it when they arrive, and we like it when they go home.
When we are with them, we are laughing and entertaining and hugging and kissing them and chasing them and delighting in them. Our time with them is pure joy. But this joy and excitement exists precisely because we AREN'T parents. Parents may love their kids like nobody's business, but from my perspective, most of them are not really joyful in parenting. They are too jaded and tired. For us, every little thing the kids do and say is amusing, adorable and a revelation about how they are growing and changing. But for parents, the kids' antics are not novel or exciting at all. Most of the time they are too exhausted to play with them - they are too busy caring for them and correcting them to have the time or energy to play with them. Often when they do play with them, they appear to be going through the motions.
For us, storytime is a chance to delight and entertain them. For the parents, storytime is a tool to get them into bed so they can finally have some peace and quiet. From our perspective, there's just a huge imbalance in the cost/benefit analysis.
As an aunt and uncle, we get the absolute best of parenting without the worst. We get the arms around our necks and the I love yous that melt our hearts. We get to watch them jump up and down with excitement upon arriving on our doorstep. We get to share with them, and give to them, teach them and entertain them. We get to experience the excitement of being a child again through their innocent eyes. We get to enjoy the holidays with them. We get to influence them in a meaningful way precisely because we are not their parents. We get to watch them grow and change and learn and we imagine the adults they will grow into.
What we don't get are the endless hours of thankless and endless labor, sacrifice, expense and aggravation that go along with having kids. After a day of love, kisses and fun exhaustion, we can hand them back and save up our energy for next time. And when next time comes, we'll be recharged and ready for them with the same excitement, joy and love that they have grown to expect from us. We do not disappoint!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Observations of a Happy Mom
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Rendell - Put a Sock in It (and you too, Campbell Brown)
"Janet's perfect for that job. Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it."
As would be expected, the media is jumping all over the remark as sexist, which it probably is. I mean, it's doubtful he would have made the same comment about a Joe Napolitano. Can you imagine him saying, "Joe's perfect for the job. He has no family so he has no life."
Setting sexism aside, though, this comment is insulting on another entirely different level, and one which the media would never pick up on. It is insulting to childless and childfree people. Excuse me, Mr. Rendell - so you are saying that we childfree people have NO LIFE? Um, I beg to differ. In fact, I would argue that we have MORE of a life than most people who are saddled with kids.
Oh but that's right -this is America and the only pursuit that constitutes a life is having children. Nothing else qualifies. It doesn't matter if a person pursues higher education, is engaged in the community, maintains meaningful relationships, travels, is engaged in creative projects, does volunteer work, is a devoted spouse, friend, son or daughter, aunt or uncle, sister or brother, employee or Governor of Arizona. The only people who have a life are people with "families", right?
(Oh, and just to be clear, when he says "family", we can be pretty sure he is not talking about a husband, wife and 3 cats.)
Take a moment to watch Rendell in action and then listen to Campbell Brown rip him a new one.
P.S. to Campbell Brown: You rail against Rendell for "perpetuating stereotypes about women", and in the same breath categorize women into 2 categories - "mothers" and "single women". Tell me, Campbell - oh, Champion of Womens' Issues - which of those all-encompassing categories do I fit in?
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
A Quiet (and tasty) Thanksgiving
I decided to make the best of the situation and have a full-blown Thanksgiving feast just for hubby and me. I cooked everything over a 4 day period, so as not to wear myself too thin doing everything in one day. It was actually really nice to have a quiet day at home. Because I have nothing else to write about today, I thought you might enjoy seeing my creations (have I told you I LOVE to cook?).
Here's what was on the menu:
Green bean salad with roasted peppers, julienned mushrooms and slivered almonds (from the LeBec Fin Cookbook)
Tofurkey with roasted vegetables and mushroom gravy
"Sausage" bread stuffing (I substituted vegetarian sausage) - recipe from the Pillsbury Cookbook
Sweet Potato Bake (from Paula Deen's Christmas Cookbook)
Classic Macaroni and Cheese (from my favorite cookbook, The New Best Recipe by Cooks Illustrated)
Apple Pie (from The New Best Recipe Cookbook)
Pumpkin Pie (from The New Best Recipe Cookbook)
(Needless to say we won't need to cook for the next week. )
After dinner chill.