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Jun 22 2011

Test Driving Parenthood

By at 9:06 am

My boyfriend’s 3-year-old was in town this weekend. She stayed with her aunt, but we got in a fair amount of quality time over two days. This has been our strategy over the past year.

I don’t spend lots of time with Ronia, mainly because we live in different cities, and most of the time that I’m with her dad she’s with her mom. But if, as seems likely, Jesse and I move in together sometime in the next couple of years, I will be spending lots of time with Ronia, and I want that to be a positive thing for both of us. So we try to practice, whenever we can, which isn’t that often.

But this isn’t how parenthood usually works. I didn’t bond with Ronia as an infant (though I have known her since she was born, and in a freaky coincidence, I have a picture of my mother, who died three years ago, holding a 5-month-old Ronia) and I don’t have tons of happy memories of carrying her around in a sling, watching her learn to walk and talk and sing. She has become an important part of my life as a 3-year-old, and as my own dad loves to remind me, my parents found that 3 was a much tougher age than 2.

Ronia has to deal with her parents’ marriage ending, and both of them finding new partners. It would be a lot for anyone, and I think overall she has been a trouper, but there is certainly a healthy dose of whining and inopportune peeing these days. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 21 2011

Finding the best childcare…in the White House

By at 12:08 pm

I’m supposed to have a baby in two weeks, give or take the vagaries of a uterus that on previous occasions has summarily refused to discharge its occupants. Or maybe I’m misreading the situation – maybe the former occupants of said uterus somehow knew that the most organized their mom would ever be would be when they were on the inside rather than out in the cold, harsh world where Mommy forgets to buy diapers.

Either way, the point is that while the baby nurse has been selected and will be here to help us out during the first week or so after the kid’s birth (thank God!), after that, it’s a mystery to me how I’m going to work the whole work-life-other kids-husband-balance schtick. I am thinking I’m going to need to bring in someone from the outside, i.e. some form of child care provider.

Weirdly for me, this decision is fraught with gratuitous angst and guilt. There are lots of reasons for this, though none of them have their roots in my own personal history, oddly enough. My mother got her PhD while raising four children (whoa), and doing so necessitated a
babysitter a few days a week. Those days were when I got to color on the walls with impunity (at least until Mom came home again). When we were all very young, we had live-in helpers on occasion who varied dramatically in quality (I was particularly freaked out by Dorothy, the one who could turn her eyelids inside out).

So I’m not under any illusion that childcare other than one’s self is necessarily a bad thing. My mother’s example illustrates, in fact, that to realize one’s self as a person as well as a mother, one occasionally needs, if possible, to have some time without dealing with other people’s poop. Forget about realizing one’s self – sanity is also good.

But I’m not so great as “the boss.” I’m one of those people who feels, when approached by helpful salespeople in a store, that I wish they would go away and leave me on my own to not find my size in peace. I like my privacy, and I hate confrontation. This is why I was so torn when I found the person I’d hired to help me with kid 2, back in the day, with her hands in the proverbial cookie jar, i.e. busily extricating a few twenty dollar bills from my wallet. I genuinely wanted to believe that she had dropped her earring in there.

Trusting someone else with your kid is no joke. That is why I am relieved to have finally solved my childcare dilemma. I found a great person to take care of my baby. You may know him better as President Barack Obama.

Check out the video above.

Michelle is holding the random baby and the baby is crying its head off. Suddenly, when the President takes the baby, it is mysteriously silenced.

That is good enough credential for me. So since putting the baby down for a nap will be no effort for him at all, I’m counting on the President to teach my other two boys civics and to hold policy debates with them in his free time, so that I can go to do my work guilt-free.

I love this country.

Apr 14 2011

Dating Without Babysitters

By at 2:45 pm

Sometimes we camp out in the livingroom and have "threesomes."

Some people don’t believe in the tooth fairy–I don’t believe in babysitters. (And I don’t think there is anything wrong with people who do.)

But I do believe that dating doesn’t have to stop once you’re married (dating your spouse, that is). It just becomes more difficult, especially after children. So how do you date your spouse, if you don’t believe in babysitters?

My husband and I both agreed after our son was born five years ago that we did not want to leave him with babysitters, especially when he was an infant and unable to tell us how the experience was. (The decision was reinforced when my son was an infant and we left him with a family member who kept him in his car seat by an open patio door for the entire hour and another family member who took him out in his stroller and left him in the middle of the street while he picked flowers. Was a night watching an overrated film and eating overpriced greasy popcorn worth endangering my son? Probably not. Read the rest of this entry →


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