Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Tribe has Spoken

I've always been what I considered to be politically ignorant. This wasn't so much a choice as it was a function of my brain. I was a preschool teacher, a kindergarten teacher and a first grade teacher. I have the attention span of a child of approximately those ages. Though I'm apt to believe childbirth has killed a moderate share of my brain cells and I am now leaning more towards the attention span of a toddler. Those of you who now have a toddler, or have had one in the past, know theri average attention span is nil, except when they have stumbled upon an unattended box of Kleenex, and then they are able to spend a minimum of three hours slowly pulling each individual Kleenex out of the box of 470 tissues, and then meticulously tearing each of them into pieces the size of sesame seeds. But I digress. Kleenex aside, children are not known for their abilities to pay attention to things. So, for obvious reasons related to such, it has been difficult for me to maintain the focus needed to follow what is the LONGEST FREAKING ELECTION PROCESS IN THE FREE WORLD!!! Every major election year, I would vow to learn, vow to listen to the candidates and their issues, vow to read the paper and news magazines, vow to go into the polling place on Election Day and make a truly educated choice. It never happened. It would go more like this: When the Iowa caucus approaches, I would attempt to familiarize myself with the names of the candidates in the running. I would search my brain for information on caucuses from my high school poly sci class, and I would fail. I would read an article in Time magazine on one or another political candidate or issue, and I would fall asleep. I would attempt to watch a debate if it didn't interfere without necessary television like ER or reruns of Benny Hill, and I would fall asleep. I would shamefully abandon all hope of figuring any of it out on my own and I would call my friend Andie, who was a poly sci major in college and actually worked for a time in the government (don't ask me what branch, I was much, much more impressed when she did the radio news during the Imus show for several years) and I would ask Andie who to vote for. And she'd tell me. And I would. I was just proud of my self for voting.
This time, I made a similar vow. Except this time it's working. At a time when I've typically already fallen sleep (yes, I relaixe it's onl been a matter of weeks), I'm interested to see who is winning the primaries in which states. I've actually visited candidate websites (though I can't get too far because I refuse to give them my email address). And I actually watched almost all of the new Hampshire debate a couple of weeks ago. This was helped by the fact that we have TiVo, so the pressure to watch it all live, and all at once, was off. And I would have watched it all, but I realized the Republicans were interested in nothing much more than making sure the US was still a superpower. So after an hour an 45 minutes of them, I gave up. But I watched the whole Democratic debate. And I have anxiously awaited results for the primaries thus far. And I was gleefully happy with myself. I thought maybe I was maturing. Maybe I had finally become socially and politically conscious enough to make my own decisions. But I realized that no, this wasn't it. You see, this whole primary business, the whole debates and voters and stuff, is really just like a very long and debatably more important, though less entertaining, reality show. So here I must thank Jeff Probst, Simon Cowell, Phil whatever his name is from the Amazing Race, and more recently, the people with forgettable names (Carson being the exception) from Crowned. After years of watching reality shows, and hanging on for months to see who will be the winner in the end, I can apply these same principles of dogged persistence to the presidential race. I do realize, because we have
LONGEST FREAKING ELECTION PROCESS IN THE FREE WORLD, that my attention will need to be held slightly longfer. And for this, I respectfully request a few immunity challenges, road blocks, and even Simon telling one or two of the hopefuls "You're dreadful, get out of here," before November rolls around and I can enter the polling place with confidence...and likely a toddler at my feet, before casting my vote and mumbling under my breath "The tribe has spoken."

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I'm so proud

Helen's second birthday is less than a month away. I am becoming increasingly sad about this as she is our last baby, but that is another post. Today, as we were walking through Target, Ruthie and I were discussing Helen's birthday. (And taking advantage of the limited time we have left to discuss such matters in her presence without her knowing what we're talking about.) As I've mentioned before, I like to let Ruthie pick out gifts for people, and her sister is no exception. I asked if she knew what she'd like to give her sister for her birthday, and she said she'd like to get her a toy. Knowing that Target has a lot of toys on post-Christmas clearance, I suggested the three of us take a stroll over there.
As we were making our way over there, I asked if she knew what kind of toy she'd like to get for Helen. She replied that she knew just what she wanted to get her. She wanted to give her the big brown teddy bear she had at home that she didn't really need anymore. I was glowing with pride. Yes, I'm proud that she is thinking of her sister, and that she would give up something of her own...but mostly I'm proud because, at the ripe old age of three, she is already regifting.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Rhyme time

People say the dumbest things. I mean, really, the dumbest things. And they're so often unnecessary. And unprovoked.
The girls and I were at the gym today, trying to get some energy burned off on a frigid, below zero wind-chill day by donning swimsuits and splashing around. Thank God the pool is indoors. There were quite a few other kids and their moms there. One woman had a little girl who, it turned out, is just a week older than Helen. They didn't exactly play together, but they acknowledged each other's presence in a "that's-my-mommy-keep-a-reasonable-distance-or-I-may- bite-you" kind of way. The mom and I exchanged pleasantries and the usual "Oh, how old is she?" exchange took place, which prompted the realization that our girls were only a week apart. We retreated to the locker room to change...always an ordeal when Helen is around. Once everyone was dressed, I proceeded to wrangle up the girls to dry their hair somewhat. I called their names, which I will reveal ONLY for the purpose of this post. Do not attempt to refer to them by name in any other capacity, unless you know them in real life. I mean it. Anyway, Ruthie, whose name is really Amelia, and Helen, whose name is really Anya, were in need of a corralling, so I called out "Amelia and Anya, come let me dry your hair." To which this other mom, who is now in the locker room as well, immediately (like as if she had diarrhea of the mouth), responds "Oh, why did you do that yourself?" My stunned silence must have egged her on. "Amelia and Anya? Is that what you said?" "Yes," I replied. "Wow, I get Stacey and Emma mixed up. That must be tough." I responded with one of those half-assed grunty laughs that is more of a "Who the hell asked your opinion?" or better yet "Who the hell gets Stacey and Emma mixed up, you moron." I know my girls' names don't sound dissimilar, but they're not that alike that a complete stranger should feel the need to comment. I didn't name them Shelly and Kelly. Or Casey and Tracey. She must have realized at that point that she had made a comment for which I did not care because then she said "They're beautiful names, though." I thanked her and turned the hair dryer on, drowning out anymore of her senseless, unsolicited commentary. Next time I see her I think I'll call the girls Annie and Fannie.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Here I Am

I''m posting because it's been two weeks since I posted last and I'm feeling guilty. I don't have anything witty or interesting to tell you. We survived our Christmas party, and actually had fun. For real. Christmas was low-key, which was great. New Year's Eve was even lower key. Tomorrow Benny resumes school. This means Wednesdays will be very, very long for me. He will leave home around 7:30 a.m. and return around 10:30 p.m. This makes for an interminable long time when Ruthie is in one of her whining, uncooperative moods and Ruthie is n a temper tantrum streak. Benny had this schedule last year. Except that it come on the heels of my Tuesday night volunteering at the NICU (which usually has me tired the following day) and just before his Thursday night basketball. This year, the NICU will be on Mondays, which will give me night to recover, and Benny has agreed to be more flexible about basketball. (i.e., if one or three of us has pneumonia, or say, I have just been hospitalized with a kidney stone, he will skip basketball.) This may help. As will the fact that Helen is no longer nursing. We'll see. My knuckles are white. If anyone has been thinking of having us over for dinner, Wednesdays are good. Better yet, if anyone was thinking of having just my children over for dinner, Wednesdays are excellent.