As I've mentioned several times before, Isaac is an active 2 year old. Sometimes I struggle in my effort to encourage good behavior from him. Most of the time I realize that he is a unique person, and that what works for some Moms might not work for me. Every now and then, however, those little voices of doubt creep in, mocking me and my attempts at "good" parenting.
Although Isaac is active, he is not what you would call "wild". He doesn't run willy-nilly into a crowd, he waits a few minutes before trying new things. What makes him difficult is his independent streak*. He always wants to do things by himself. He doesn't want to ride in the stroller, he wants to walk. He doesn't want to hold your hand. He doesn't want to walk the way you are going, he wants to walk his way. He wants to pour his own milk, cut up his own dinner, put on his shoes, take off his diaper, wash his own hands. He doesn't want to sleep in the crib, so he climbs out. He doesn't want to take a nap so he gets out of bed. He doesn't want to read the Napping House, he wants to read Franny B. Kranny. And HE wants to turn the pages!! Etc. Etc. Etc. Ad naseaum.
In preschool, it is required that parents sign their kids in every morning and out every afternoon. The teachers use this sign-in sheet to write little comments about the day. You know, like "Isaac had a great morning today and loved playing with the play-doh". Except, that's not the type of comment I usually get. More often, our comments go like this: "Isaac had a hard time staying with his group today." Or "Isaac doesn't like to sit during circle time, but he does better if I hold him in my lap."
Last year, Isaac was the youngest in his class, so I didn't worry myself too much with these comments. "He's just young," I told myself, "he'll get it in time." This year, he is not the youngest. And the comments I get are like this: "Isaac didn't want to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at circle time today and had to sit outside for a few minutes to settle down". Or "Isaac loved making cookies with his group but he got upset when other children stirred the batter".
I have talked to his teachers at school, and they insist they are not bothered by his behavior. It is well within the normal range for kids his age. One teacher told me that he "just really seems to know who he is and what he wants, and I can respect that". I thought that was very true, and pretty cute, if truth be told.
But I still worry, every now and then, that I am not molding his behavior properly. That if I was a better mother, he would "mind his manners". Another mother at school has two boys, age 3 & 2, and she told me how they recently flew across the country. She sat between the two boys and said the flight was pretty uneventful. This made me cringe inside. "Wow," I said. "You didn't have carseats, and they just stayed in their seats?" "Oh yeah, " she replied. "They know better than to get down until I tell them to." A cross-country flight with Isaac would never be uneventful. Further, it would be impossible to consider without a carseat to strap him into.
I try to be consistent when I discipline him. Time-outs are very big in this house. We use an egg timer, and he has to sit for 2 minutes. If we are out--at the market, at a friends house--and he starts acting inappropriately, I am perfectly willing to warn him, and then take him immediately home if the behavior persists. But there are times, I admit, when this doesn't work so well. When I threaten something before I think about it, and realize, too late, that I won't be able to follow through.
I also try to be careful not to "break his spirit". I don't want him to fear authority, the way I do. I want him to feel confident enough to speak his mind, I want him to hold onto this great sense of himself thoughout life.
But shouldn't I be able to control him better on an airplane? Shouldn't he be able to eat at a restaurant by now? Shouldn't he know that he has to sit nicely in the grocery cart?
I guess I will always worry, to some extent, about whether I am doing a good job at this parenting thing. I find that funny, considering I never wondered about my "official" places of employment, in the pre-kids days. I always felt like I was doing a great job, and didn't worry about it beyond that. And yet, this job--this un-paid, under-valued job that I hold now, for which I received no training, and for which it is assumed that I need no training other than that xx chromosone--this is the one that I feel the most insecure about.
*Lest you be confused, being independant does not mean that Isaac likes to play by himself. He may want to do everything his way, but he also wants you to watch him doing it.
Friday, September 30, 2005
As I've mentioned several times before, Isaac is an active 2 year old. Sometimes I struggle in my effort to encourage good behavior from him. Most of the time I realize that he is a unique person, and that what works for some Moms might not work for me. Every now and then, however, those little voices of doubt creep in, mocking me and my attempts at "good" parenting.
Posted by Piece of Work at 9:27 AM
Thursday, September 29, 2005
My best friend Heidi celebrated her birthday yesterday. I was going to write her a nice post and direct people over to her blog to say Happy Birthday, but . . . well, we have been so busy here.
And there's this:
Yesterday I took the kids over to her work at the un-named studio lot for lunch, and we all had a great time. I don't drive very much. I mean, I drive to pre-school, and the grocery store, and the drug store, Target, the library, my in-laws--you get the idea. Los Angeles is a big place, but since I rarely need to travel more than 10 miles from my home, I don't know it very well. If Lance is in the car, he always drives. (I know, I should set a better feminist example for my kids, but I hate driving. I fantasize about having a driver at my beck and call.) The drive to the un-named studio lot was outside my area of expertise. No worries, Heidi sent me directions and I got there just fine.
Going home was another story. I turned the wrong way out of the lot. Once I realized this, I looked for a place to turn around but didn't find one. I did find a sign for the 134 freeway, and thought "Okay, I'll just take that. I know how to get home from the 134". Except I never know whether I need to go north or south or east or west, so of course I got on the 134 heading the wrong direction. No problem, I'll just get off and turn around. But wait! There's a sign for the 5 freeway. I'll just take that and go through downtown. Fine. Except I didn't get over soon enough to make the exit to the 110, so I had to take the 110 going the wrong way. Damn. Oh well, I'll just get off and turn around. Oops, the exit I got off of does not have an entry onto the 110 going the other way. Well, I just drive around here until I see a sign. The freeway is right there! There has to be a way to get on it! After driving around a fairly sketchy area of Glendale for what felt like hours, I finally got back on the 110 going the correct direction. And made it home without another glitch. Sheesh.
In my defense, during all of these driving and turning around and swearing and wishing I knew my south from my north and my right from my left, I was also constantly turning my head to the back seat and making faces and funny noises in an effort to keep Miss Viv awake. If her eyes close for more than 60 seconds at a time before her afternoon nap, then she does not take one. I failed to keep her awake. She did not nap yesterday, aside from her snooze in the car.
So, Heidi, I'm sorry! I know you had a somewhat pissy birthday but I'm glad that we could at least be a bright spot in your day. I love you and hope the best for you. Thank you for always being there for me.
Posted by Piece of Work at 2:32 PM
Gah. Those kids have kept me so busy this week I've barely had a chance to blog. Blogging is a bit habit-forming, for me, and also un-habit-forming, so that if I don't blog for a day or two, then I suddenly I have to search for things to blog about and before you know it, it's been a week and I've barely said anything.
This morning I finally have a few minutes to myself and so I decided to get down to business. Except all the posts I have brewing about in my brain just don't feel like working their way down to my fingers on the keyboard. Instead I start reading other people. And find this.
Heather, as you may remember, was my college roommate. We are very good "in real life" friends, although we live 3000 miles apart*. However, I had no idea that she struggled so much with her weight. (She always looks fabulous, by the way). Her post is beautifully written and powerful, so here I am, pointing it out to the rest of you.
I'm aware that this is not the same as writing my own post. Though after reading her blog, those unwritten posts of mine do seem closer to the surface.
*Also, I must add here: I am such a telephone moron that we don't talk nearly so much as we should.
Posted by Piece of Work at 9:05 AM
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
One petite 15 month old female child. Extremely cuddly, often sweet baby girl with sparkling smile and infectious giggle. Can crawl and cruise at will, and walk assisted. Set includes diapers, wardrobe & carseat.
*Incessant whining not grounds for return. Frequent and prolonged night-wakings may occur. Inability to communicate can cause frustration and lead to louder than average tantrums. Pushing and shouting "MINE!" are favorite pastimes.
Posted by Piece of Work at 7:31 AM
Friday, September 23, 2005
I was speaking with a friend last night (Hi Susanna!) who reads my blog and she told me that while she wouldn't spend $65 for a pair of shoes for her daughter, she does enjoy buying her things. It makes her really happy, she said, to buy cute clothes for her. She spends all of her money on her daughter, rarely spending a dime on herself.
I started thinking about that--because I definitely don't feel the same way. In general, I hate shopping. Buying clothes for anyone--the kids or me--makes me feel guilty. I don't like spending the kind of money that is generally required when one shops anywhere but the discount stores. It rarely gives me pleasure to buy a cute dress, a fun toy, or a fancy new pair of sneakers. About 4 years ago, I spend $280 on a dress I needed for a wedding. It is a very flattering dress, and well-made, but I have had guilt about that dress for years. Only after wearing it to every single dress up event in the last 4 years have I accepted that it was probably worth the money.
All this stems from my up-bringing, I'm sure. My parents were very big on the "value of a dollar" thing. We knew, from a very young age, what things were expensive and thus out of our reach. We knew that many things we wanted were too expensive for my parents to afford. When my parents were finally able to send us private school, we knew what a stretch this was, and knew to do the best we could, or risk wasting our parents' efforts. Whenever we received a gift, especially if it was expensive, we were well aware of the sacrifice my parents had to make to get it. In a way, we learned that wanting things made our parents suffer. We also learned that money is really important. Or at least, that's how I internalized it.
I don't want my kids to feel guilty if we buy them a computer for Christmas one year. But I do want them to appreciate it, and take care of it, and recognize that it is not just something they get because of who they are. I don't want them to grow up feeling entitled to things. At the same time, I'm not really sure that feeling guilty everytime you buy your son a new shirt is a real healthy way to live.
So that's the balance I'll have to walk with Isaac and Vivian in the years to come. Who knew that so much of parenting would be spent on a teeter-totter?
Posted by Piece of Work at 9:26 AM
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Is there something wrong with me if the thought of spending $65 on a pair of sneakers for my 2 year old son makes me gag?
Today I was browsing the old baby board where I used to spend my time (pre-blogging) and there was a discussion about shoes. A mother was trying to find some Mary Jane type sneakers (I know, Mary Jane sneakers? Weird) for her daughter. Other moms piped in and posted links for her. These shoes were all in the $45 to $70 range. To me, that is at least $20 too much to be spending on shoes for a toddler.
Thing is, these are moms that do not have a ton of extra income. And they seem to be fairly down-to-earth, thoughtful people. So I just wonder--why are they willing to spend that kind of money, when I am not?
Isaac does not own a pair of shoes that were not purchased at Target or Land's End. In fact, all of his clothes are either hand-me-downs from my sister, gifts, or purchased at Target. It would never occur to me to spend more than, say, $20 on a single item of clothing for him, and more often, I spend less than $10. He has one pair of sneakers, one pair of loafers, and two pairs of sandals.
It seems to me that a lot of moms I know are a lot more "concerned" (for lack of a better word) about their kids than I am. And I don't just mean that they spend more money on them--though they do. Kind of like the school thing--I am just not that worried about it, whereas other Moms are truly desperate. I don't care if Isaac and Vivian get dirty. I don't care if another kid knocks them down. I don't care that they get scraped up, or bit by bugs, or get colds from other kids. As long as my husband isn't around, I'm happy to let them play in the playland at McDonald's.
I know this post seems like I'm trolling for compliments. Like, look at me! I'm not materialistic! I don't waste my money on silly things! Honestly, I'm just thinking aloud, and wondering if I need to adjust my parenting "philosophy". I know that I definitely don't focus on my kids the way others do, and usually I'm okay with that. I love my kids--they are everything to me--but in a lot of ways, my parenting style is dictated by what is easiest for me. I put them to bed early because I need a break. I kept Isaac in a crib as long as humanly possibly because I didn't want to deal with him getting up every five seconds. I don't buy them things when we are out shopping because I don't want them to expect it. I put them out in the backyard to play, unsupervised, because I want to blog.
I know that parenting is not easy, and I won't always be able to take the easy, selfish way out. I just wonder if I will be able to do what's difficult, when I need to.
Though I'm still left with this question: if I don't purchase the $65 shoes for my 2 year old, what will happen? And the only answer I can come up with is: nothing.
Posted by Piece of Work at 2:10 PM
Monday, September 19, 2005
Vivian took her first steps yesterday! Sadly, they were captured by neither camera or video. Even more embarrassing--the person who encouraged her to take these steps? Not me. Not her father, her grandmother, aunt, uncle or relation of any sort. Rather, the groundskeeper, Candido, at the little beach club* that we belong to. Glad someone is taking responsibility for her continued growth and maturity!
Here's a photo taken several minutes after the aforementioned steps. She has--of course--refused to take any more since then.
*I feel compelled** to explain that this is not one of those snotty beach clubs that the rich folk belong to. This beach club only has about 30 members, and is merely a house on the beach, with parking, a kitchen and locker-room. It's awesome, and very inexpensive, but difficult to get into since it's so small. Fortunately, nepotism is big there, and Lance's grandparents were members for years.
** this compulsion to distance myself from rich snotty people is something I should probably talk to a therapist about, especially considering that my parents are pretty well-off, as are Lance's. Not snotty, though, I hope.
Posted by Piece of Work at 3:49 PM
Friday, September 16, 2005
You know how sometimes you go to a blog and read all about how that mother has fed junior peas and butternut squash for lunch, and how she's so happy that she's introduced these kinds of foods into junior's diet at such a young age, because, look! how healthy he is? And then you glance over at the high-chair tray of your own junior and feel just a little smaller about the cut-up hot dog and French fries you've tossed there?
That will not happen here.
My daughter, at 15 months old, is neither walking nor talking. Though she does have about 6 words.
One of them is "Otter Pop".
Posted by Piece of Work at 10:45 AM
The lovely and talented Trisha, whom we all know and adore, has created for me a kind of banner. See it? Over there, to the left! Is that not awesome?
And, I'm trying to make it my gravatar*, too.
*Don't try and tell me blogging isn't a subculture--we even have our own language.
Posted by Piece of Work at 10:41 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Now that fall is here and all the kids are going back to school, it seems everyone I talk to asks me where I'm going to send Isaac to kindergarten. I'm not sure if it's naivete, or denial, or what, but this is not something I have spent a lot of thought on, or plan to spend thought on anytime soon. I mean, Isaac will not be going to kindergarten for three more years.
However, we live in the Los Angeles Unified School District, which, in case you weren't aware, is one of the "worst" school districts in the nation. I think it's second worst, behind NYC. Or maybe that's 2nd largest. I don't know how they rank schools anyway, and if it's based on some kind of standardized test, then I am not surprised--I would bet that at least half, if not three-quarters, of the student population is Spanish-speaking. I can't imagine those tests come very easy to you if English is not your first language.
Many people we know are struggling to get permits for their kids to go to the Santa Monica schools, which apparently are much better than LAUSD (much wealthier client base). Or they are applying for charter schools or magnet schools, or trying to move to a district with a better elementary school. The elementary school in our neighborhood is "improving", but still scores really low, compared to other elementary schools in LAUSD. They bus kids in from all over LA, since no one in the neighborhood goes there.
We cannot afford to send the kids to private school--nor do I have any desire to do that, even if we did want to shell out $15,000 for kindergarten. We cannot afford to move--two bedroom homes in neighborhoods with better schools are selling for $850,000 to $1,000,000 these days. We have no relatives who live in Santa Monica, nor does Lance work there, so getting a permit is out of the question. That leaves the charter or magnet schools, or our local elementary.
If Isaac went to the local school, we could walk there. And I keep thinking--it's only kindergarten! How can it be that bad? So what if a lot of the kids don't speak English very well.
I can't seem to force myself to see this issue as life-or-death, the way so many others do. I have no fear that Isaac and Vivian will struggle to learn to read or write. I can't imagine they will struggle much in school at all, no matter where they are. And I guess I just don't believe that their lives will suffer if they don't go to a good college.
I went to a public university. Yes, it was difficult to get into, and yes, it has a fairly good reputation, but still, it's a state school. And in many areas of the country, no one sees it as more than that. So I don't necessarily feel that my making good grades in high school to get into that college helped me in any way after school.
I just don't think--unless you are going to go into something highly specialized--where you go to college makes much a difference in your employability. And further, I guess I'm just not that concerned with my kids' employability. I have confidence that they will do fine. I don't care if they are lawyers or doctors, or mail-carriers. Truly.
But even as I type this I know that I am being dense. That in 3 years, I may change my tune entirely and start begging on the corner for tuition money. That when Isaac is cutting class in high school I will be screaming at him, "How do you expect to get into a good college with grades like this?!" That when Vivian tries to go to school in a belly shirt in 5th grade I will lose my mind.
But still, I can't seem to muster the hysteria that other moms in the neighborhood have, and I'm not sure why. Why doesn't it seem as important to me as it does to my parents, my in-laws, even my husband? I don't know. Maybe I have my head in the sand.
Posted by Piece of Work at 7:21 AM
Sunday, September 11, 2005
When I was growing up, my maternal grandparents lived on a farm about 20 miles out of town. Many, many an afternoon was spent there, playing king of the hill in the hay-loft, weeding and seeding and roto-tilling and picking vegetables from the garden, mucking horse stalls, roaming around the 20 some-odd acres, pondering my life. My childhood memories are colored in the landscape of Northspring: the lush green leaves of a Mid-Atlantic summer, complete with buzzing yellow jackets, biting mosquitoes and chirping crickets, the pale grey of winter, long brown branches of maple trees and dull grayish spikes of evergreens, water pails in the barn frozen over.
The farmhouse itself was originally built at the turn of the century, and then added onto in the 20's and 30s by my grandmother's family. She grew up there. When her father died and her mother grew ill, she moved there with my grandfather and their six children, aged 19 to 5. They lived there for over 30 years, finally selling it in the early 90s, in part to finance their move to a retirement community.
My grandmother has never gotten over the loss of that house. I myself mourn for it often--I would love to be able to show my husband the linen closet we used to hide in with the hidden trap door leading to a bedroom. Or the attic where we spent hours scouring through old dresses and top hats, reading letters from a great-great uncle written home from World War 1. I long to prove to him, finally, that a tomato grown in the heat and humidity of the east coast beats a mealy Californian one hands down. I would love to watch my son learn to flip off the diving board, a rite of passage for all of us cousins.
I can only imagine the memories my grandmother had to leave in that house.
---------- ------------- --------------- --------------
It is cold, and there is still an inch or two of snow on the ground from a storm the night before. Although it is only 3:30 in the afternoon, the light is dim. The sky is cloudless, a grayish white film that blends into the snowy hillsides at the horizon. My mother, holding my sister's hand, looks over her shoulder at me.
"Come on, Amy, let's go!" she calls. My grandmother is already down at the pool, lacing up her skates.
I grumble, but trudge along, watching the impressions my shiny red boots make in the snow. All afternoon, there has been talk. My mother and grandmother are going to show my sister how to ice-skate. I am deemed too little for skates, but have decided to come along anyway. I have been told, in no uncertain terms, that if I complain, I will be sent right back to the house.
"Alright, Annie, let's get your skates on!", calls my grandmother. "Won't this be fun?" Ann sits down on the wall and lets my mother lace up one skate while Grandma does the other. I stand nearby, watching.
"Here, sweetie, you can skate, too." says my mom. "Your boots are slippery, almost like skates!" She helps me onto the pool surface. "Just stay right here in the shallow end. I don't know how thick the ice is in the deep end."
I slip around the ice on my boots, but I can't get going very fast. I don't understand why I can't try the skates, too, but resist the urge to ask the question again. Soon my mother, grandmother and sister join me.
My grandmother and mother each hold one of Ann's hands and help her wobble over the ice. "Look!" squeals Grandma. "Isn't this fun?"
"Look at you, Ann!" agrees my mother. "Look, you're skating!"
I turn, slushing away from them.
"Amy! Don't go in the deep end! You've got to stay down here!" my mother hollers.
"Okay, okay." I mutter sullenly, turning around to watch again.
"Can't I please skate?" I ask. But no one hears me. They are concentrating on Ann, helping her up when she stumbles, encouraging her and laughing with her when she slips.
I turn around again, and make for the deep end, waiting for the scolding from my mother. I'm bored now, and I don't care if I get sent back to the house.
The deep end is slicker than the shallow end was, and I can slip around easier on my boots. The ice is darker, almost black in spots, but I also notice that there are cracks. The cracks make pretty designs in the ice, and I follow the lines with my boots, turning in crazy directions. I try to twirl in a circle, throwing my hands out to my sides, but my boots catch on the ice. Maybe if I get a running start.
Then I am in the water. I am holding onto the edge of the ice with my mittened hands. My boots are heavy, dragging me down, but my head is above water, and I can see the other women in my family at the shallow end of the pool. Their backs are to me; they didn't hear me fall.
I hesitate at first--if I call for help, then they will know I disobeyed. I went to the deep end despite orders to the contrary, and I will be punished for sure.
But it is cold in the water, and it is hard for me to hold onto the ice. My legs, in their snowpants, are heavy.
"Mom?" I call out, not much louder than a whisper. Suddenly there is a very loud CRACK!, and the ice shifts.
"Help!"I yell, startled, and scared.
"Amy!! Oh my god!"
My mother is running, slipping, skating across the ice to me, but my grandmother stops her in her tracks: "Randy, no! The ice can't hold both of you! You've got to go from the side!"
She stops, wobbling on her skates, but her eyes have locked with mine. The panic in her eyes scares me.
"Mom?" I start crying. "I'm sorry".
"Sweetie, no. Hold on. Just HOLD ON. I'm coming to get you."
----------- ------------------ ------------------ ---------
The rest is a blur. I know my mother, in attempting to reach me, fell in the water herself. I know that somehow my grandmother got me out, but could not lift my mother from the water. I remember very clearly the image of my father and grandfather running down the hill to the pool to help. I imagine my father lifted my mother to safety.
This is one of many memories of my childhood at Northspring. I am not sure why the one I chose to share happens to be scary, when so many other memories are only wonderful. Perhaps because the emotions were so strong that it sticks out for me.
In any event, September 11th is my grandmother's birthday. A day that brings a lot of sadness and retrospection for most Americans, especially this year, especially when it seems we have learned nothing in the last 4 years. I prefer, for now, to think about Northspring, and picking blueberries from the bushes (not groundcover, like they grow in more northern climates) underneath the protective netting.
Happy Birthday, Grandma.
Posted by Piece of Work at 1:59 PM
Friday, September 09, 2005
Thursday, September 08, 2005
I need a break from the Katrina coverage, from the horrible stories that keep coming out. I can't keep being angry and weepy and taking my emotions out on my husband and children. No matter how horrific this situation is, my life has not changed. I still have diapers to change, meals to prepare, laundry to do.
I have sent money, I have sent boxes of relief items. If an influx of Katrina victims arrive in L.A., I will do what I can. But for now, I'm done.
I need to concentrate on this for awhile:
Thanks to YT, for reminding me. (in the comments of my last post, sorry--I can't figure out how to link it)
And also my dear Republican friend, Susanna.
Posted by Piece of Work at 3:01 PM
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I have nothing to report, since I can't stop ranting and raving and sputtering in the face of all this incompetence and suffering.
There's this: http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197 via Phantom
Barbara Bush said: "Almost everyone I've talked to says we're going to move to Houston."
Then she added: "What I am hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality.
"And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." via Suburban Bliss
And who can forget this: http://media.putfile.com/OlbermannSwings via I can't remember who.
Or this: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/09/20050902-2.html via everyone.
Not too mention, apparently some cartoon is making the rounds which shows Sean Penn in a boat trying to help, and makes fun of his clothes or claims he doesn't know what he's doing. (I didn't see it) Because, hey! People are dying! But isn't it fun to sit here at our computers and make fun of people who are trying to help? Via Heidi
There are people in my life--people who are near and dear to me--who refuse to see this debacle as that. Who still insist we could never have foreseen this. Who defend the federal (lack of) response by blaming the state and local governments. Who claim the reason it took so long was that the snipers impeded our progress. Who are outraged not at the suffering, but at the fact that people looted. Who believe that--despite the dead and dying people in New Orleans--we should not move the National Guard in, because that would leave us vulnerable in other areas to a "potential terrorist attack".
I love these people. And I knew, before this disaster, that our political views differed. Generally speaking, politics are not a large part of my life. It is easy for me to see that different people will think differently. We just don't discuss things like abortion rights, gay marriage, border patrols.
But now, now I am at a loss. I can't stand to hear their ridiculous defenses one more time. I can't stop ranting at them, stop my fury.
I am not an extremist. When Clinton was caught "not having sex" with Monica Lewinsky, I was pissed. Not because I cared that much about his sex life. But because he was the leader of our county, and he did something really icky. Totally disrespected his wife and Monica, and insulted the American people by lying. Made the whole party look bad, made it easy for the religious right to get all high and mighty. Many of my friends--loyal Democrats--did not take this line. Who cares?, they said. It's not like this has anything to do with his ability to run the country. While I agree with that statement, I find it kind of irrelevant.
Where am I going with this? Oh yeah. Why can't people be honest? If your politician makes a mistake, why can't you call him on it, even if you elected him? Why does admitting that the Bush administration made some horrendous error in judgment here scare you so much? Why is everything so absolute? If you say--yes, this is outrageous. Yes, the federal response was shit-- you can still admire the way Bush handled 9/11. You can still love him for whatever other reasons there were before this (sorry, I just can't think of any). Why can't we all be outraged when our leaders do something outrageous??
If Kerry were in the white house, and somehow this still happened, I would be furious.
Look, I realize that nothing is as simple as it seems. That hindsight is 20/20. That many many people are to blame. But the reaction of our leaders just keeps getting worse and worse, it seems. And call me ridiculously optimistic, but I had more faith in my country than this. I don't believe you when you tell me it is just too hard to get helicopters in there. I don't believe you when you claim a few shooters are enough to stop the entire National Guard. I don't believe you when you say you couldn't have foreseen this.
Also, yes! It is satisfying to point the finger. It does ease my blood pressure just a little bit to say--YOU! YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CAUSED THIS! Yes, I am glad--if I am being honest--that it is Bush, and not Kerry who I get to blame.
But in the end it doesn't even matter. When this many people die, someone should be held accountable, of course. But that is not going to bring anyone back. All those people are still dead. All those survivors still have nothing.
I am sick sick sick. I am completely uninspired by my own mundane life, and even though Phantom is right, I can't think of anything worth writing about. I just sit, and stew. And stew. And delete horrendous emails from my father*. Try to block out enraging conversations with friends. Think about how ridiculously fortunate I am.
What if that happened to us? I asked Lance last night. What if there was a massive earthquake and we lost everything? If LA fell into the ocean, but somehow we survived?
We'd go live with my parents, in their nice house, where they have plenty of room and enough disposable income to easily help us rebuild. Lance works for a global company, who would do its best to find him another position.
Yes, it would be difficult to start over, but it wouldn't be that difficult. We have a safety net, because of who we are. Because we were lucky enough to be born white, and middle class.
FUCK! Why is the spell check on this thing acting so irrationally?
On that note, I end my ramble.
*edited to add: this is not really fair. I have received no horrendous emails from my father. He just told me not to be so quick to point the finger. However, he has not responded at all to the links I send him, and since I know his political bent, I am imagining what his response would be if he did decide to engage in a battle with me. Totally unfair, on my end. Sorry, Dad.
Posted by Piece of Work at 12:24 PM
Monday, September 05, 2005
According to the LA Times, FEMA has been under-funded since it was brought under the umbrella of Homeland Security. We have spent those dollars instead to prevent a "terrorist attack". In doing so, we left ourselves vulnerable to another kind of attack--Mother Nature.
So, in fact, the terrorists have done exactly what they set out to do: killed thousands of Americans. Destroyed cities and counties. Brought out the worst in people. Made America look incompetent.
How can I not blame the Bush administration and their focus on terrorism for this?
Posted by Piece of Work at 2:50 PM
Friday, September 02, 2005
What the hell is going on? I don't understand why these people are not getting help. And now Congress is trying to push through a 10 billion dollar aid bill--great, but jesus christ! It's been 5 days already! What the hell is taking so long?
I feel so helpless. They need help, and I can do nothing.
Posted by Piece of Work at 8:33 AM
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I have written here occasionally about what an angelic baby Isaac was. And I have also hinted at how that all changed once he became mobile.
By 6 months old, he was army-crawling all over the place--into the cat-food, the toilet, the CD player, the speaker wire. He walked at 1 year, and was running soon after. By 16 months old he could open doors and get himself outside without my help. He is really curious, I guess, and energetic, and these qualities make it likely that he will "get into" whatever there is to get into, no matter where I hide it. He gets bored easily, so sitting quietly reading books or playing with his toys does not appeal to him. He has seen those toys already! He needs new toys, new experiences. He actually gets bored of the playgrounds we frequent, forcing me to drive around LA, looking for new ones.
I realize this is fairly typical 2-year-old behavior. However, other moms, comparing him to their own, call him "active", or say things like "Wow, he's really into things, isn't he?" My sister claims he is much more energetic than most 2 year olds, and while I don't believe that, I do think that he is on the high end of the spectrum for that age range.
This has made things difficult at times, especially when Vivian was a baby. I absolutely cannot stay at home all morning long with Isaac. He will go clinically insane if we do not get out and do something before lunch. So I would schlepp him and his newborn sister out to various playgrounds, Target, the grocery store--anywhere so that his boredom would not disintegrate into screaming crying fits, writing on the walls with shaving cream, or ripping the wires out of the TV.
As Vivian got older--oh, and I enrolled him in pre-school!--things got better. Vivian does not require nearly the care she did as an infant, and I have learned how to better manage Isaac. Still, it can be exhausting, constantly trying to find things to entertain him. And also, being so vigilant, since he can open most any door, including, but not limited to, the baby gate.
So you've heard me complain here.
Yesterday I took the kids for a walk in the neighborhood in their wagon. Isaac likes to do things "all by myself", which means that he does not sit in the wagon, put rather pulls it and Vivian around himself, with me walking alongside, trying to steer him back to the sidewalk while he says, "No, Mom can you please not pull it? I pulling it!"
We were walking along--this style of walk is very time-consuming, as you might imagine, and it takes almost an hour to get around the block--and we needed to cross the street. "Okay, Isaac, let Mommy pull now, and hold my hand while we cross the street," I said. He relinquished the wagon handle without complaint (this is HUGE, because he absolutely hates to hold my hand, and often will clapse both hands together in front of him in an effort to thwart me), stuffed his little palm in mine, and across we went. "Thank you, Mom", he said, as we neared the other side, "it's my turn now."
And I thought--you know, he really is a good kid. Every child is challenging in his own way, but I feel really lucky that Isaac is not aggressive, or angry, or impossibly shy. Yes, we have our challenging times, but overall he is just a sweet, mild-mannered boy.