As a rule, I don’t really like drinking cold water. I’m much fonder of room temperature drinks, except for the occasional soda.
However, the pregnancy nausea has kicked my butt, and I am now only able to drink things that are either ice cold or nice and warm. There’s only one small problem with this. Ice melts… FAST. And I don’t have an ice maker in my bedroom – we really should have thought this out a little better when we were rebuilding. On nights when Dan is at school, that’s a lot of trips downstairs. When he is home, that’s a lot of trips he has to make.
And then he made a suggestion… get a Big Gulp container (even though it’s not from 7-11 and therefore not technically a Big Gulp). He stopped last night on his way home and bought one for me.
That is a ONE HUNDRED OUNCE container for liquid. The clerk informed Dan that the first fill-up was free. Um dude, we’re not drinking 100 ounces of Coke at 11:00 at night. I know it’s a shocking concept, but this thing is actually going to be used for water. (Also, I’m pretty sure I just solved the obesity epidemic. We can stop funding studies now.)
Other than the fact that it’s so long that I can barely put the straw in my mouth… and the fact that I feel like I need a 1985 Astro Van and a cigarette… the thing is actually pretty nice and does keep my water cold for far longer than my Nalgene. The worst thing about it actually is being seen in public carrying it. I might have even gotten some help this morning carrying my things just so I wouldn’t have to be the one actually holding it. At least I won’t be thirsty.
Welcome to Rant-on Tuesdays. Why Tuesday? Because I’m too tired to give a damn on Monday, and by Wednesday I’m generally caffeinated enough to be over whatever pissed me off at the beginning of the week!
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So I’m sure you’ve all seen those blog posts that circulate Facebook and Twitter about how we need to talk to girls to make them feel smart and not just pretty little faces to be praised for their beauty.
And then they tell you all the things you need to teach your girls, like how to change a tire and how to catch and smoke a fish. I’m honestly surprised those lists don’t include something about learning to stand to pee, just to even us all out a little bit more.
Before you get all pissed off at me for possibly questioning these well-intentioned list makers, let me give a little background. I attended a women’s college for two years because I value single sex education (even though I transferred to a co-ed school) – and for a fabulous discussion on NPR today on Talk of the Nation, read Are Single Sex Classrooms Better for Kids. One of my many book ideas that I never followed through with was about single sex education. I’ve read numerous studies about biological gender differences (I don’t think things like temperature preference has anything to do with societal conditioning). I believe that girls are entitled to pursue any and all interests and careers, and I fully understand the history of female subjugation in ours and other cultures.
However, I have a boy.
And while I see campaigns, organized or not, to encourage girls into math and to break long-standing gender barriers, the reality is that those same conditions don’t exist for boys. Ok, breathe. Just hear me out.
Boys are expected to turn into MEN. Boys are expected to love cars and know how to change a tire. They are supposed to be tethered to the remote on Sunday night. Boys are supposed to turn up their nose at pink. And they are encouraged to drink beer. Boys are rough, risk takers, aggressive, manly. And when they aren’t, society questions their manhood, in a way that women would never be challenged, not in 2011. A female engineer? No big deal (even if the pay issues are still there, which I do not discount at all). A male ballet dancer? He must not be a real man.
I recognize that even if society struggles with changing traditional male roles, men still CAN do all these things. And women? They’ve had to work really hard to establish even a modicum of equality. But I really struggle with the idea that boys are still supposed to be a certain way, like certain things, and even at 3 or 4, if they don’t, they are probably gay. My cousin carried a purse when he was little. He thought it was really cool. Kellen likes pink, a lot likes pink. And he cries each day when the little girls at preschool line up to go to ballet. Yesterday he flung himself into my arms because he wanted to go to dance. I’m sure he would even happily wear the pink leotard and tutu. They have another dance class, one that’s more “appropriate” for boys that he will start next week. But part of me wants to put him on the wait list for ballet even though there are no (ZERO) boys in the four sessions of ballet at his school. I’m sure part of that is the fact that I’m a non-conformist and to hell with anyone who says my son SHOULDN’T take ballet. But even the conformist in me thinks this is bullshit. Where is the list for my son, encouraging moms and dads to teach their sons to like pink, to pick the flowers, to dance, to, *gasp*, compliment my son on his looks without fear that he will forever internalize such words and assume his only worth is in his smile? I have my doubts that such list would become viral in the same way the “teach your girl” lists have. I think we, as a society, like our stereotypes of men. And I wonder if we will ever be comfortable with our men breaking the same gender roles that we, as women, have tried so hard to overcome.
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On a non-related to this post issue, you might notice that a significant number of my comments are missing. I am working with Disqus to get this resolved but there isn’t an exact URL match anymore, so it’s become a little complex. No worries though. I should have them all back by next week.
I am at my 2001 following limit on Twitter, and I’m still about 500 followers shy of 2000, so I’m not allowed to follow anymore people until I get more followers. This necessitates unfollowing, which I think sucks, but I guess I have to live within the rules of Twitter. How I determine who to unfollow:
1. Inactive Twitter account. Yeah, you people, who signed up and tweeted once and forgot you were supposed to come back. You’re first on my list.
2. Not following back. I’m not quite a stickler on this. I will keep people who don’t follow back, like Ashton Kutcher, because, you know, I don’t expect him to be a fan. And if I like you and want to follow, well, I will, even though it’s completely screwing up my following/follower ratio. It’s starting to get bad though, and I might have to start letting some people go, which is sad. I tried creating a list of people who don’t follow me, which did honestly help, but with so many outside applications to manage accounts, who even looks at the lists they are on anymore?! That require actually going to, gasp, Twitter.
Sometimes it sucks to be a mom. I might have even gone so far on Twitter to say that I hated being a mom sometimes (in the morning).
I was then berated by a mother who apparently has never, ever had a moment where she wanted to bang her head against a wall and cry. But then again, she plays hockey, so at least she has an outlet for her frustration. At my house, it’s just me and the wall. And the wall always seems to win. And my three year old. He’s loud.
I want to be clear. Hating the actual act of parenting does not mean I hate my children. I love my son. I love cuddling up to him in bed, reading books and talking about our day. I love watching him jump around the house, “dancing” to the Hot Dog Dance on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I love watching his eyes when he experiences something for the first time and being able to read his emotions so clearly in those moments.
But that doesn’t mean I love everything about being a mother. I don’t love that my sleep schedule has been (semi)permanently altered by my child and that even if I COULD sleep until 8 or 9, my body is now conditioned to be up by 6:45 (which, I’ll admit, is still better than 4:30 or 5, which was the case when Kellen was one). I do like cuddling in the morning, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t mornings where I wish I could stay lost in my own thoughts for an hour instead of pointing out the lights, counting the lights, watching the fan, and listening to Donald Duck. I am still a person outside of my role as a mother, and I don’t like (actually I hate) the fact that my own internal voice is often drowned out by the other voices in my house – whether they be my labs, my son, my husband, or the dishwasher. I want to get dressed without my three year old screaming at me to come downstairs (or, god forbid, carry him down the stairs trying to balance my ever expanding belly). I want to sit down for breakfast (my current selection, Lucky Charms) without requests for Mac and Cheese and hot dogs and trying to convince my three year old that those are not appropriate foods for 7:30 in the morning (though I’m still trying to figure out why not exactly, other than it just seems wrong and I don’t actually have the energy to cook a box of Annie’s Mac and Cheese). I want to be able to prepare myself for the day, to think about my to-do list, to prioritize. Instead, I spend twenty minutes asking my son to sit back down and please take a bite and leave the dogs alone and please don’t throw that and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST EAT. And then I look at the clock and realize that if Kellen doesn’t eat in the next five minutes and get dressed in three minutes (HAHAHA) then we are going to be 10 minutes late for school, even though the teacher specifically asked us to be on time because it’s disruptive to the other kids. And oh my god, today is Kellen’s day to bring a snack, and I completely forgot, and do we have enough graham crackers, and we don’t have juice so we still have to stop, and we are going to be so late. I swore I’d never be the parent that was twenty minutes late. If it were only up to me, we wouldn’t be. But Kellen just doesn’t have a sense of time, and it doesn’t seem to matter what time we wake up, he’ll still take just as long to get out of the house. We’re already late, and Kellen isn’t even dressed yet.
Kicking our lunchbox
Speaking of getting dressed, since when did putting on pants become a game? I don’t ever remember my mom having to play tag to get me into my clothes. I thought my raised voice would do the trick, but I was wrong. And I can’t put him in time out or his room because we’re already late, remember. The internal voice I’ve been trying to channel all morning just showed up. She’s saying, “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. Come here and get your fucking clothes on.” Thankfully she’s only in my head.
Clothes are on, lunch is packed, snack is in bag, library book is packed to return to school. I think we’re ready to go. If it’s a good day, Kellen gets in the car and pushes the button to open the garage door. If it’s not, Kellen tries to negotiate five more minutes or wants to roll his car down the driveway or sees something packed away in the garage that he has to have right.this.minute. And I put him in the car screaming, and then he yells at me and says he wants to walk, and if I don’t put him back down and let him get in, then he won’t let me buckle the car seat, and it’s just not worth the fight, not today. And sometimes he still screams, all the way down the road. I turn up the radio, trying to tune him out so I don’t have to pull over and cry. These pregnancy hormones are a bitch, you know.
When we get to school, Kellen has to push the happy face to get himself checked in and highlight his name for milk for lunch. And after a morning of acting like I am the worst mommy in the entire world, when I go to say good-bye, that is the moment I have to hold him right now and never leave his side. And if I try to leave, he cries, and if I do leave, he screams. And I’m so ready to get in my car and drink my coffee and have a moment in peace, and instead, I now feel guilty.
Am I doing the right thing? Should I stay home today? Does he feel abandoned?