Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gender me This

Unemployment has created many opportunities for me and my family. Like the opportunity to be free from the stress of trying to get everything done while being a good parent and happy family. We have slipped into semi-traditional gender roles around here: I am taking care of the house, and daddywhumpus is bringing home the money. We have left babywhumpus in day care so I can get things done and look for a new job.

One of my main projects is to tidy up the basement, and when I say "tidy up," I mean "keep from winding up on an episodes of 'Hoarders.'" We have a small house and a lot of stuff, and the basement has become the chaotic graveyard for all our crap. I am sorting, stacking, recycling, and throwing; organizing, cleaning, and painting. In the process of this, I have found treasures, trash, and everything in between. One of the treasures is a bin full of unopened Barbies. Yes, I am that person. I played with them in the 80's, and I collected them in the 80's and 90's, right until about the time I bought this house. I used to display them, but there'sjust no room for such a thing anymore, so I decided it was time to sell them.

I brought up the bin, opened it, and babywhumpus said, "What do you have there?" in his super-inquisitive tone that is usually reserved for food. "Dolls," I said. He was immediately interested and started helping get boxes out of the bin. "I want to open them," he said. I told him that he could choose two to open, but the rest would stay in their boxes. I did a quick search of their monetary value and gave him a couple of twelve dollar girls to have.

That doesn't sound good, but seriously, I am talking about Barbie dolls.

We opened up Rio de Janeiro Skipper and Pretty Flowers Barbie. Aside from the fact that Barbie's teen cousin has no business being in Rio, she's a lovely doll. Pretty Flowers Barbie is one of my favorites. They became his favorite toys, right up to wanting to bring one into day care. I told him that Skipper had to stay in the car so we would not lose her. He really wanted to at least bring her in and show everyone. He didn't understand because after all, we let him bring the Peter Pan sword inside. I felt bad about this, but I had my reasons.

I didn't want him getting crap from the little boys about having a doll. I didn't want him to think that he couldn't play with dolls because he's a boy. All the boys are into super heroes and guns, which is to be expected, and so is babywhumpus, but I want to preserve this time where he has some gender role flexibility.

I forgot about the girls.

babywhumpus' snow boots are pink. He picked them out himself. When we came in the day care door one morning, leaving Skipper in the car, one of the little girls said,"Why are your boots pink?" I said, "Because he likes pink." babywhumpus, the King of Tautologies said, "Because they are pink." Fortunately, she did not have any follow-up and let it drop, but it's not the first time a little girl has questioned Finn when he is wearing rainbow socks or flowered shorts.

Feminism: We're not done yet!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Care vs. Work

In the "Hey, that's old news" file, when dad stays home to care for kids while mom goes to work, that's officially a "childcare arrangement." This is according to the United States Census. Hello, 1954! How are Ike and Mamie? It's pretty neat that we can vaccinate kids against polio now, but that H-bomb is a little scary.

I am freshly unemployed, which makes me a specific statistic (sorry, President Obama. It's truly not your fault), and for the moment, babywhumpus is still in day care full time, which does not change our statistic in that area. Were we to bring him home if I don't find work, or if my personality entirely changed and I became a stay-at-home mom, I would indeed be another statistic, but not because our child care arrangement changed. Apparently, me taking care of my child during the day is the baseline. I am the "designated parent." While it's nice of the Census Bureau to acknowledge that women in two-parent, heterosexual households still do the majority of the housework and childcare, I don't think we need to be disregarded when it comes to "Who's Minding the Kids" by being assumed. (The link to the Census report is contained in the above article. It leads to a pdf.)

It's hard for me to wrap my head around this one, so I am sitting here convinced that I have it wrong. It doesn't make logical sense, and it seems like bad data gathering. Plus, I am mostly just taking notes here and trying to catch up. Unemployment has made me busier than ever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

witch_hazel hearts juiceboy

Almost eight years ago, I decided to try out online dating. You know, before everyone was doing it. I looked at it as a social experiment, and I liked filling out forms. I didn't think anything would come of it (heh).

On April 18, after a brief online conversation, I met juiceboy for a drink and trivia at a local Irish bar. It was a Sunday, and we met early, so I figured I would be home early enough to be on time for work the next day.

We didn't win the trivia, but we won the date, and when I rolled home at bar close, I hid my profile. By my birthday a month later, I was hooked, by December, he moved in.

We have been married for five and a half years, and we have this lovely and challenging three and a half year old boy to show for it. Best decisions ever.

Happy Valentine's Day, daddywhumpus! I love you!