Death of the West

In good ‘ol days rock stars lived fast and died young.  Now they play Live Earth concerts.  Really, when was the last time a rock star OD’d?  Meanwhile we got miscellaneous blonds running around and getting arrested.  Brittany is now officially a goner.  But who does she think she is, Syd Barrett?

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July 26, 2007. Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

Why I Luuuv Mark Steyn

Take a look at the following essay.  Admire this:

Morrison’s verse sounds like the rhyming dictionary is being stretched to its limits – “mire” and “pyre”, but he refuses to tire or preach to the choir.

Actually it can be any of his many essays.  You get a sense that he’s getting more and more into his subject matter as he’s going along.  He is so prolific — you get a sense that he practically spits out essay after essay, and his saliva turns into fireworks as soon as it leaves his lips. 

I spit out my writing as well.  Only it looks like the staff my daughter spits out.  I can’t edit my scrabbles immediately, because that would be like liking my own puke.  I have to wait several days, and when I go back to my writing I inevitably find several sentence fragments.  By then I have no clue what was originally on my mind.  I’m not completely hopeless, though: I clean up a little, change wording here and there, and my piece improves.  But as far as the blogging goes, I take too much time.

July 26, 2007. Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

Standards

I don’t know too many people who go to bed at 10 pm.  I know one parent couple, but unfortunately they live a half an hour away, which is like another planet right now. 

Following an advise of my doula, I joined a new mothers support group.  So now I can talk about my baby as much as my heart desires as long as I don’t boast too much.

I’m keeping my eyes open for other young mothers in the neighborhood, and there are some.  Unfortunately, I have standards.  For instance, last week I went out for a cup of coffee with a friend of mine.  He actually gets out of his way to visit me once a week.  I suspect his mother suggested he would do something like that. 

So we were sitting in a coffee shop.  Two other mothers were a table over to the right.  One of them had a six-year-old, another – a baby.

“How old is you baby,” – I decided to strike a conversation.

“Nine month,” — She said.  She was happy to know that mine is nearly the same age.  But then she added: “I’m learning so much from her.”

That was unfortunate because I’m making a list of things I want mine to unlearn.

July 24, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

Mother’s Little Helper

A couple of days ago we were driving to Target to get some baby products.  I am becoming a fan of Target, BTW.  When I was pregnant, I tried out all sorts of venues, but at the end bought the best maternity wear from Target and Old Navy.  Both stores rock when it comes to cute and inexpensive baby wear.  Plus they have jumbo packs of diapers and baby wipes at Target. 

We were listening to IPod on the way to Target, and the above-referenced song came up.

What Rolling Stones meant to do is to expose the hypocrisy of your average respected middle class suburban adults – a dreaded demographic.  Kids, you see, are not the only ones getting high.  Some feminists would add a line about the mundane of married life.  After all, a self-respecting feminist would not marry unless any vow to spend the rest of her life with one man would mean anything more then sharing their twilight years.

Regardless, when I heard Mother’s Little Helper I thought: Wow!  How did they do it in the 50s?  Women had five kids, and yet were expected to keep the house clean and have a dinner ready when husband returns from work. 

My 10-week-old overwhelms me completely.  I’m tiered when I get up, I’m dizzy after I feed her; I struggle to find time to walk with her and play with her.  Last week I decided that she’s now old enough to read to her, and so I started reading my books aloud.  This way I get some *time for myself*.  When my husband comes home from work, I *let him* put her to bed and cook dinner for me.

Granted, child-raring expectations were different in the 50s.  No experts advised mother to strap the baby to herself and carry her at all times.  Pediatricians weren’t in the business of telling women to sleep with their babies, allowing them to nurse any time they wake up.  This way a 50s housewife avoided nurturing her newborn into a sleeping problem that would later need to be redressed.  Still, we are talking about the Dr. Spoke era, so mothering was already sufficiently child-centered. 

Granted, cooking was less intensive as well.  If 50s were the era of mass-produced canned food, today’s parents buy organic cook chichi.

Still 50s mothers ran households without servants.  Now a middle class urb- or suburbanite can get a grateful foreigner with an expired visa.  Supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants is a viable option to alleviate guilt.  It can make one popular with other moms.  Unfortunately, once househelp will get all amnestied, she will probably quit working in a demanding new parent household.

The real story of Mother’s Little Helper is not how widespread the pills were, but how limited was their use.

July 23, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

O’Reilly on the Left

One has to admire intelligence and composure of Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  After watching her interviewed by a Canadian named Avi Lewis, my husband volunteered to punch the guy in the nose.  He’s a real gentleman, my husband.

Whereas Bill O’Reilly is an annoying demagogue with lowbrow pretenses, Avi Lewis is an annoying demagogue is highbrow pretenses.  Bill O’Reilly rants and raves about the extreme left, Avi Lewis rants and raves about uber-conservatives.  Somehow Hirsi Ali’s story is entirely separate from Islam, he insists.  He tells a very slanted story of her life, and doesn’t give her a chance to defend herself. Off-handed anti-Americanism is apparently perfectly acceptable.  And because he spices up his speech with academic lingo an average North American urbanite wouldn’t think of criticizing him.

July 22, 2007. Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

An Unprofessional Opinion

When we first heard that everybody would have a parenting advice for us we thought that old wives will voice their wacky opinions at will.  We would then disregard their opinions and turn to medical professionals and psychologists instead.  But no, every pediatrician and every shrink has his or her own pet theory and calls everyone else a so-called expert.

One of the wackiest and most popular theories is Attachment Parenting.  Attachment parenting Bible is The Baby Book.  The cover of my copy boasts half a million copies sold.  The book was recommended to me, and I bought it although I should have known better – The Birth Book by the same author pair was to the left of Lamaze.  Dr. Sears, the lead author, appeared on multiple TV shows, which is not surprising considering how outrageous he is.  Dr. Sears teaches new parents to sleep with their children and to “wear” their children.  He also advises to pad coffee tables – G-d forbids your crawling offspring bumps into it and cries.

On the subject of sleeping with babies Dr. Sears admits that there is no literature that supports his thesis that sleeping with babies is good for them.  He actually admits that all studies show that it’s bad.  Never mind – Dr. Sears feels that one day a study will come out to vindicate him.  He actually conducted his own mini-study with the parents of his patients who admitted sleeping with their newborn.  They were all happy with their decision to “share sleep”.  Now, I admit, I had brought my baby in bed with me even though I realized that it’s not a good thing.  But I was exhausted, and I’m not perfect, and I have to forgive myself.  I’m not getting self-righteous on account of bad decisions.

Dr. Sears, on the other hand says that only in our culture sharing bed with children is not appropriate.  It’s all great considering that we live in our culture.  And yes, in the Middle Ages for instance, a peasant family slept together.  They also brought a cow, and a sheep, and perhaps a chicken to bed with them.  And it was before central heating.

What about the kids getting so used to sleeping with their parents that they are unable to leave the “family bed” and establish healthy sleeping patterns.  Only Dr. Sears doesn’t mention the words “healthy sleeping patterns”.  He tells us not to worry – one day the kid will mature and be ready to leave. In the meantime, parents might feel uncomfortable with intimacy in presence of their toddlers.  In this case Dr. Sears advises parents to look for another place to have sex.  Uh, what the hell, a grown up can act like a teenager without all this middle life crisis nonsense.

Then there is the issue of baby wearing.  Apparently if a parent doesn’t wear the baby they will fail to attach.  So generations of people brought up in the Western world, generations that created the most creative, dynamic, humanistic culture weren’t properly attached to their parents.  Thus their parents failed to bring them up properly.

I find strollers and carriages comfortable, but no, forget that we have paved roads around here.  Like hunter-gatherers we need to put our babies in sacks and break our backs carrying them around.  Probably because like the noble savages we should make our sons warriors.

Baby carriers didn’t work out for me.  The ones that go over one shoulder are not ergonomically correct.  I bought a Baby-Bjorn style carrier and found it impossible to use.  Putting baby’s limbs in right compartments is very very difficult.  I basically have to break their safety rules in order to be able to fit her in.  I’m uncomfortable carrying that much weight, and she is uncomfortable because I inevitably put her in uncomfortable positions.  In addition the carrier pushes the diaper close to her skin, resulting in an unpleasant sensation the second she wets her diaper.

Supposedly there are some newer carriers that go over both shoulders but keep baby sideways.  Still the weight is not distributed evenly in this kind of carrier.

I figure if I tickle my daughter, and sing to her and dance holding her in my arms, we will bond.

July 17, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

The Heartbreak

Mothering is a one giant heartbreak.  When my daughter was born we had to feed her every two hours.  I say we because although I was the one doing the nursing – naturally! – my husband had to wake me up and change the diaper.  She had to be fed every two hours for about a week before she started gaining weight. 

One day my husband woke him up and I asked him what time it was. 

“Six,” — said he.

“How come you are up?” – I asked thinking it was six am.

When I relate this story to friends and neighbors they inevitably recall a similar experience – in their partying days.

Anyhow, that first week me and my husband were talking about how easy it will be once we would only need to feed her every three hours, or every four hours.  And once she sleeps through the night – piece of cake!

As it happens she has been sleeping through the night – for about a month now.  I didn’t want to admit it to myself though.  Not because I’m one of those crazy women who sleeps with her baby and lets it nurse every half an hour because she wants to make it hard for herself.  I was kind of hoping that my daughter would pick different hours to sleep.  Instead of sleeping through her early a.m. feeding she sleeps through the late p.m.  She once slept through the early a.m., but I believe it was a fluke. 

She also doesn’t like to fall asleep too early.  In fact a pattern had emerged.  She falls asleep 8 p.m. sharp.  (On one occasion we managed to get her to sleep at 7:30, but she was up again at… 8 p.m.)  Then she wakes up sometime between 2:30 and 4:00 am sleeping for up to eight hours.  After that she wakes up again between 5a.m. and 7 a.m.  Her first morning nap is between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Naturally everyone has an advice.  My aunt suggested waking her up at 10 pm.  My doula said to not do anything drastic and try to gradually push her feeding and sleeping time to the desired hour.  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work.

Given that this is not a behavioral issue I don’t want to press anything.  If my daughter’s biorhythms tell her to sleep at certain hours, then she will sleep these hours. 

Mothering is a one giant heartbreak.  I hear it’s a one giant continuous heartbreak.

July 17, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

Diaper Review

According to Consumer Reports all diapers are now good. That couldn’t possibly be true, and it’s not. The one brand I found the best is Pampers. I tried out several different kinds.

  1. Long’s Drugstore – they have a name for their diapers that I can’t recall. They are pretty good absorbency-wise, but very stiff and leave red marks in tender little skin.
  2. Huggies –absorbent and softer then Long’s, but still leave marks;
  3. Cabbage Leave – Actually they are called 7th Generation. Those are the diapers that you buy in Whole Paycheck. At the first glance they are not overpriced, though, same price per diaper as Pampers. However, they are the least absorbent of all brands I tried. Because I had to change the diaper much more often, they, in fact, are more expensive then competitors. They claim superiority over other diaper brands via eliminating chlorine. According to them chlorine causes diaper rash. All other sources I consulted site excrement as a source of diaper rash. In any case, my daughter doesn’t get the rash ever since I started using Petroleum Jelly on her buttocks. I suppose an absence of a chemical can’t hurt, but I don’t want to be a chump either. Cabbage Leave has another advantage: When other diapers feature cartoon characters widely recognizable to a person who grew up in this country, but unknown to this particular mom, Cabbage Leave is tasteful beige. Really, diaper fashion is more important to mommy then to newborn. Not to mention that your everage newborn doesn’t watch Sesame Street. At least I hope she doesn’t. Since Cabbage Leave doesn’t feature any corporate characters, the company doesn’t pay licensing fees. Unfortunately they are too cool to pass the savings to the consumer.

4. Pampers – the most annoying in appearance, but the softest and the most absorbent.

July 5, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

Daytime TV Aficionado in Making?

Parenthood does strange things to women. I remember visiting a new mommy friend last December and listening to her acknowledge that she’s not that into dressing up anymore. She fought her fashion inertia, however, coming up with creative outfits that are still not too involved. I was pregnant at the time and obsessed with pregnancy fashion. I was a pretty hot pregnant mommy, looking back at it…

But today I find fashion silly. And my daughter being naturally gorgeous won’t need much accessorizing!

In the past I found daytime TV profoundly boring, and I still do. I don’t watch Oprah or The View or any of that crap, but I keep my TV on news channels, and daytime news falls significantly below my standards. Nighttime news is also below my standards, but it’s not quite as bad. I find TV an easy breastfeeding diversion. I prom myself up with pillows, place my daughter on top, and turn it on. On a good day I get my fill of Anna Nicole, Paris and Diana. On a bad day it’s a rescue worker falling into a ditch – on every channel.

And yet I’m getting to be the daytime news demographic. I can’t get a news story about vegan parents who starved their baby to death via vegan diet out of my mind.

The baby was the same age mine is now when it succumbed. I fantasize about what should be done to the parents. Should we just “shoot them” or commit then to lifetime of starving baby videos? In any event vegans should be preventively fixed. I feel so passionate about it, I would call TV station if the subject comes up! Am I becoming one of them, a dreaded boring housewife? The baby was the same age mine is now when it succumbed. I fantasize about what should be done to the parents. Should we just “shoot them” or commit then to lifetime of starving baby videos? I feel so passionate about it, I would call TV station and demand to fix vegans!  Am I becoming one of them, a dreaded boring housewife?

June 26, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

Experience Speaking

New mothers often ask me for advise… ehr, no.  Lets pretend they do.

My advice is this: Steal hospital swaddling blankets.  Receiving blankets you buy in stores are no good.  They are too small even at birth.  Fancy blankets are too slippery.  IKEA has some good baby blankets, but they are too warm for summer nights, let alone summer days.  Then they are the blankets designed specifically for swaddling, but they are tailored to infants of certain size, so they only fit well for a couple of days.

Why can’t anyone produce proper size blankets for sale is beyond me.  I assume there is market for something like that. Then again, maybe there is not.  A good deal of baby products are designed for baby showers, i.e. they supposed to elicit baby sounds from grown women. If I had to single out the single most useless baby product I proudly own, I’d have to say its diaper duck.  A diaper duck is a ducky that looks like a ducky you get for your baby in hope that it would calm down for a second when you are washing it.  A diaper duck, on the other hand, is something that goes into mommy’s diaper bag.  Its staffed with small blue plastic bags in which parent can put a soiled diaper before disposal.  I wonder if they even bother to manufacture refills.

I guess people like buying bay staff, especially baby girl staff.  I am now in receipt of the most inexplicably frilly pink onesies; most of them unsolicited.  Unfortunately I have to thank every gift-giver profusely, which gives them ideas.

June 25, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts. Leave a comment.

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