Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some things never change

You know the whole "you'll feel different when you have kids" thing?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

For instance, childed co-workers when I was childless. They were always taking time off to take their kids here and there or pick them up or stay home with them, and it was irritating. It felt like they were getting breaks for having a kid.

Yeah, that's not the case.

I am in the middle of a week during which I have accomplished nothing. Finn had an Early Intervention appointment this morning, and I did not get here until 10:30. On Friday, I have to leave at 2:00 to take him for two more booster shots. Couple that with the dentist appointment I had on Monday, which landed me in my desk at 11:00, and I am so discombobulated that I don't even think a to-do list would help. I may as well have taken the week off for "personal reasons" and spent the hours in between appointments cleaning or organizing the spices. It blows. It's definitely not a "break." Luckily, I have sick time to cover it because next week is going to be the same thing.

At the same time, I straddle that childed/childless line because I still find it irritating that I take all this time away from the office just because I have a kid.

But some things never change. Those kid-sized shopping carts at the grocery store? I still hate them, and Finn will not be using them when he is with me. They get in the way, and they piss me off. Kids don't need to help with the shopping. It's helping no one. If you want your kid to help you with a grown up task, do it at home, not in the cheese section of the store. Have fun letting your kid help feed the cats. He'll get in no one's way, and you can clean up the mess in peace.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

News Question

Minnesota Public Radio posted a question today on their Facebook Page:

"President Obama wants to help families pay for child care. Sources in the MPR Public Insight network tell us that child care expenses have been a factor in deciding whether to enter the work force. Today's Question: How has the cost of child care affected your career decisions?"

And I started typing an answer in the comments. It's too long, so here I am.

First of all, this question is usually posed within the framework of the dominant paradigm, that is, it's addressing a family of mother, father, and assorted children. In this paradigm, it's interesting that this question usually involves taking one parent's salary (the mother's) and subtracting the amount of childcare costs, as opposed to thinking about it in terms of household income.

This is for many reasons, among them: mothers are usually the primary caregivers, and women still tend to make less in the workplace. I was doing this in my head as well, knowing that our day care costs are almost $12 thousand a year for one child, thinking "That means I only bring home $14k a year," instead of thinking about it in terms of I still bring in $14k or thinking about it in terms of total net household income minus childcare costs.

In our situation, I did stay home for the majority of Finn's first year because of his prematurity. I was the one who stayed home because I do make slightly less than Pete but mainly because I am the one who was best at lactating. It was really no contest. If we were to be faced with the stay-at-home question now, it could be either of us, though I would still vote for me because daddywhumpus has the better job.

It's nice to know that either one of us could stay home if we lost our jobs and we could still pay the bills (especially considering that the recession will be hitting our job sector starting this next budget cycle). If we had another child, by accident, I would most likely stay home.

Children's Museum

The weekend before last (does it really matter), the whumpuses went to the Children's Museum. We had never been there before, and the opportunity arose to meet up with a group of similarly-minded people who also have kids, and it was simply a great outing. We don't go to church, and we don't hang out regularly with friends who have small children, so this event was grrrreat. (Not sure why. Probably schedules. Oh, and the fact that many--though certainly not all--of the people we know who have small children are acquaintances, with whom we don't necessary have much in common, aside from small children. It's not always enough. Oh, and also, when I have time, I don't always want to spend it with other people because I don't like people. So, maybe I am sure why. This is clearly a separate post.)

First of all, the place is meant for children. It's not a museum about children, or a museum that children can look at, it's a museum that children can do. And as long as you guard the door to whatever exhibit room they are in, they can pretty much run around and get into stuff. Even a nineteen-month-old tornado like babywhumpus.

There's a room with a lot of water things:

A room that is like a little town with businesses and houses:
Proof that sometimes, I am with the baby, too!
Yes, we drew on him, and ourselves.

Overalls are not just cute, they are functional. This was a demonstration with a real, live rat. Finn was not trying to get to the rat, he was trying to get to the fake fireplace behind the rat:

In the dinosaur room:

On the right, cast of the inside of a triceratops skull. Dino brains:

More in the water room. In the Forest room, Finn was taking the little rubber tadpoles and frogs out of the stream and sucking the water off of them. Nice.

We loved it. We bought a membership. We only have to go three more times in a year to make it totally worthwhile.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Look Back in... Sentimentality

I just returned to my desk after a last trip to The Bunker. I picked up my CD player and my pump supplies, and here I am. I haven't used that room since November, and it's probably been that long or perhaps longer since I used my pump at home. Finn doesn't use bottles anymore, either, so it's pretty safe for me to pack all that stuff up.

I just haven't.

I keep thinking, "Maybe I'll go pump," but then I never do. It's pure sentimentality, now. Looking back romantically on the time when things were different. Part of me is sorry to say goodbye to it, even though that room is a little hole that smells odd and moldy, it was time consuming, and it's not exactly a joy to hook the teats up to a suction machine.

It's the same romantic look back on times past that makes people have two or more kids.

Last night, I saw a baby on a television program. He was small and gurgly; the fat little helpless infant that makes people think they want another fat little helpless infant. I had a moment of wistful "Aw, I don't have a baby anymore. Finn's so big," and I could no longer remember what it was like when he was that small. I didn't want a new baby; I wanted the feeling of my baby, when he was still a baby. But I don't want my baby to be a baby again. As impossible as he is to, say, take to any kind of social gathering or into any home that is not child-proofed (there's nothing like a home that has no children to make you realize that even though you have not officially child-proofed your house, it is, indeed, child-proof), I don't want another helpless baby.

I'm just fine with my toddler who won't say "mama."


Is it just me, or are the anti-vaccination people starting to sound and behave like Scientologists?

Scary thought.
Finn had his chicken pox and hepatitis A boosters this week.

He's fine, of course, but I was not overly pleased with his nurse this time. It's not that she was bad, necessarily, but she was of the stick-em-fast-and-go variety; he bled a lot, his little bandages would not stay on, and I had no chance to ask her to print out a vaccination sheet for day care. She was gone, almost as if she had disapparated.

Which would be really cool.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Finn had his flu boosters yesterday and an ear check. His pediatrician wants him to see an ear-doc, to see if he might need tubes, I guess. daddywhumpus had them as a child (I did not). Once we get the car out of the shop and get the number (which is in the car), we'll make that appointment for the boy. Plus, he needs his polio shot and... HiB? I think... I know there are two he needs, and he'll be caught up for awhile. I have it all written down so I do not have to keep it in my head.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My Boys

Boys' New Toys

Pete, and by extension, Finn have received a new toy from GP and Oma McCauley: a banjo. This brings the stringed musical instrument count in the house up to 11, I think.

The boys unwrapped their package last night, and this is the chronicle of that endeavor:

Styrofoam peanuts are the bane of my existence, but they did make for great fun:


Testing the new gear:


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Winter Astronaut Training

Please, it's 2010

Women and children first!

The box for the chair we bought:


I believe that I have previously mentioned my relative loathing of Babies-R-Us, not least because of its name. It's a big box baby store, and it makes me crazy. The warehouse of baby gadgets, formula, and disposable diapers (Read: Stuff We Don't Use) is not my favorite outing. But we find ourselves stuck with it, like when we buy a car seat or when we are in Pennsylvania without our table seat. I forgot to pack our nifty attaches to the table baby seat, which I bought for exactly such an event, and after one day of trying to feed him anyway, we relented. We had to get something. I searched, but all I could find was Babies-R-Us, so we went. We got a different kind of seat, and we really like it, but it was the bibs that caught my eye...

What the ever-loving crap is that all about? And that's supposed to be from a girl, I gather, because of the pink.

Not to mention below, presumably for boys:

I can't even begin to relate my horror, but I will anyway.

Chicks dig me?
My Mom is hotter than your mom?
My dad is cooler than your dad?
If you think I'm cute, you should see my dad?
Chick magnet?
If Mommy says no, ask grandma?

Grotesque. All of them. For varying reasons. Those reasons are sexism, heterosexism, bad taste, and out-of-line. Often all three at once. Hopefully, the people who buy these are not using them to teach their babies to read.

Merry Merry

Best Face Forward

"It's obvious that the people who wrote the Bible were living in a warm climate because otherwise, HOT would not be their idea of HELL."
-daddywhumpus, on the way to work this morning in the -3F degree air temperature.

The boy does not seem to be minding our cold snap. The boy is also snuggled in a warm, green snowsuit in his forward-facing car seat, watching us and watching the road go by. We bought this seat a few weeks ago. Technically, he still fits in his infant seat (It's authorized for up to 30 pounds), but when you add winter gear, it really was not working anymore.

They can face forward if they are 20 pounds AND over one year old. He's both, so we went for it. We thought it might also make the Christmas road trip easier. We decided to drive because flying sucks. Not just because of the baby (he did really well on the flights), but because of all the stuff, all the waiting with all the stuff, security, waiting, waiting with stuff. We figured we would have more control over driving, and it probably did wind up being less expensive, though I have not added it all up yet.

I can confidently say that forward-facing has made road trips with baby a hundred times better. It's made riding in the car at all a hundred times better. He can see, he has more room, we can feed him, sing to him, talk to him. It's great. He does not get nearly as frustrated, nearly as fast.

The trip to York, PA is 18 hours. We did it there in three days and home in two. With cloth diapers. Bringing our own food. And we did not have to worry about terrorists or Christmas snowstorms that grounded flights. We stopped when we needed to, and were only held up once-- by a car fire. Not ours. The new VW sportswagon was a dream. All in all, a good trip.

Did I mention he's walking?

Yeah, he's walking.

We're doomed.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Home again, home again

Wow, so I totally suck at blogging while away from home.

If only Apple would open up the iPhone, away from the evil dark lords at ATT.

In any case, there's plenty to say, I just have to find the time to say it.