It's happening especially frequently and intensely the last few days. Pete stomps on the floor, and I gasp as all my skin and muscles contract, turning me into a tiny, fiery ball of raw nerve endings. Finn knocks over a glass and the same thing happens, even though the glass is empty.
I don't know if it was having a preemie or just having any kind of baby, but my startle reflex is turned up to 11. Loud noises, quick movements, anything remotely unexpected, and I practically leap out of my skin. It's completely bizarre and uniformly annoying. Sometimes, I even know something is coming, and I'll jump.
Pete thinks he has PTSD from our whole preemie experience; I think that's patently ridiculous and self-indulgent. We had a preemie, who is now a perfectly healthy four-year-old. It's not like we were the victims of an IED in Afghanistan or sniper fire in Iraq or solitary confinement and torture. I get that PTSD can result from "less terrifying" experiences, and I totally understand that rape survivors, abuse survivors, and other survivors of grievous personal trauma can and do suffer from it (hence the quotes around "less terrifying." It's relative.), but I just don't feel that our situation--white, middle class, insured--qualifies. Certainly, it was unexpected and rather scary at times, but now, four years later, our normal, interesting, infuriating, adorable, and smart boy is just that: normal (interesting, infuriating, adorable, smart). I can look at videos and pictures from the hospital and feel a sense of gratitude and even nostalgia, not fear.
I think I am sleep deprived, four years older, 15 pounds overweight, and lacking in purpose, as well as jumpier, but I don't think that's PTSD, nor is it related specifically to having a preemie, though the first, third, and fifth are probably related to having any kind of baby.
(Cross-posted from kittywhumpus, where I keep most of my politics and controversy.)
Stands on her own! Literally!
I see what you're trying to do here, Mattel. I really do. But why did you have to go all Fox News, Million Mom on it? What's wrong with a smart pantsuit in a vibrant blue? Or a sassy, shorter cut?*
A sensible pair of flats and a casual cardi?
I know. It's Barbie. She started out as a fashion model, and now, she can B President, right? That's progress! She has B-liefs! She can B Aggressive! B B Aggressive!
And you, little (white) girl, playing with Barbie, can B anything!
I know you can't make everything in a version that looks like everyone, but instead of white brunette President Barbie AND a white blonde President Barbie (such diversity!), how about black President Barbie? And I know pink is your signature color, and certainly the women pictured above have appeared in it, but for President Barbie of the B-certainly-does-not-stand-for-Bitch Party, couldn't you have knocked down the Studio 54 disco-ball glitter just a tad?
At the very least, you are not teaching the art of smart campaigning, as no one, male or female, is going to win the presidency with a sunglasses-wearing micro dog in their purse and cutesy not-spelling and supremely weird phrases on their campaign literature.
I think the elections of 2008 & 2012 showed us what happens when certain parties don't choose serious people to run for higher office, and I will not be expecting "Lastly, I have to thank Barbie" in Paris Hilton's 2050 acceptance speech.
But I do think we can do better than this for our girls.
*Think of the awesome that would follow if you modeled a President Barbie after Hillary. She would come with transcripts of speeches, giant checks written to her SuperPAC, copies of her legislation as a Senator, diplomatic credentials from her time as Secretary of State, and then there's The Ken-First Gentleman doll. The accessories create themselves.