Tag Archives: motherhood


There are a couple of things that I’ve been meaning to mention.

First, Dawn let me know a while back that a book called Mothering and Blogging: The Radical Act of the Mommyblog quoted this blog in its introduction. (Dawn contributed a chapter to the book.) They used a couple of lines from the end of this post, which I wrote as I was beginning to discover the wealth of blogging moms online. Being a small part of the activist and academic discourse about this kind of writing is no small validation for me. Like so many other mom bloggers I read, I’ve thought about shutting this place down in recent months and creating something else… maybe something more anonymous where I can let it all hang out, or something more commercial. For now, I feel there are still possibilities here, as long as I keep myself from getting mired in feelings of obligation.

Second, speaking of other ventures, I have been putting some new energy into my Auction Chronicles experiment. I originally opened it because I wanted to experiment with manipulating templates and managing content in WordPress. And because many, many moons ago, in my early career as an alternative weekly staff member, I was one of the writers of a weekly crime blotter of the weird called The Naked City and I wanted to take a stab at writing potentially funny armchair anthropological stuff again. Not to mention a little pop culture stuff, because I have a kabillion clips of that order, but I’ve been in the education and fine arts corner for a while.

Third, I need work. My husband needs work. None of our projects are quite where they should be time-wise, a couple of my spring gigs have yet to actually pay me (which has me thinking that they might not, in fact, pay me), and things are, frankly, kind of scary. I am bursting with some ideas and while I’ve had more than a few middle of the night panics, I am hopeful. I know how to do lots of stuff online. Even, like, editing photos and cross-testing them for different gamma settings because I am more of a geek than you will ever know.


P.S. I am approaching my 500 post milestone. Any ideas about how to observe it?

Related Posts:

The dawning facts of life

The boy woke up before 6 a.m. the other day, wide-eyed and full of questions, starting with:

“Mommy, when I was an egg in your womb, how did I break out of my shell?”

“Um, human eggs are soft, not hard like the chicken eggs you saw hatching at school. They are a teeny tiny cell.”

“I don’t have a very hard nose like that.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Did you have other eggs inside of you?”

“Thousands, I think..?”

“Will you have a thousand other babies?”

“Heavens, no!”

“Why won’t those other eggs become babies?”

“Because mommy and daddy decided especially that we wanted to have a baby when we had you.”

“But how… why did I grow from an egg?”

“Because daddy gave mommy another cell to make you grow from both of us.”

“How did it get in there? Did he cut you open?”

“No, he was very nice about it.”

Naturally, I was caught off guard by these questions (particularly at the hour when they were asked), and I got out of the larger conversation that day by asking if we could talk about it after mommy has more sleep (and then both of us oversleeping for his camp). I expect we’ll resume the conversation soon.

So… I’ve got the old “Where Did I Come From” book from when I was a child, and lots of human body/science books that show the whole sperm meets egg thing – any book recommendations for presenting the real deal narrative with good science?

Related Posts:


I watched the news move in waves through Twitter and blog feeds last night and this morning, that this spirited little girl with wide, silent movie star eyes didn’t make it through yesterday. And with every word of condolence, every prayer, every request for a donation in her name, I can’t escape the feeling that nothing can possibly be enough.

Rest in peace Madeline Alice Spohr. Although, like so many of us, connected through cyberspace, I only knew you in pixels as a visitor of your mother’s blog, your short life was clearly celebrated tenderly, daily by your loving family.

The family is asking for donations to the March of Dimes in her name. There is also a Paypal account set up for the family for any further expenses. Visit here to find out more.

Related Posts:

Santa fraud

I’ve been kind of surprised by the number of anti-Santa parents I’ve met of late. Or those who will only tell the tale pragmatically, as in, “Santa lived once and was generous and gave gifts to all the children, and now we do the same thing in that spirit.”

More than a few people I’ve spoken with were traumatized by the means that, as children, they were disillusioned of Santa Claus. Being teased out of the fantasy on the playground or school bus made them feel that their parents had lied to them, that they were duped by the world. (My husband is one of those people.)

“I can’t lie to my child, no way,” one mom told me recently.

Personally, I never fully stopped believing in Santa Claus. I can’t swear to him, either, but I met plenty of Santa haters (especially older kids who seemed to take joy in dispelling the story) that gleefully tried to humiliate my faith, and it left no bruises on me.

I think believing in the impossible, or the improbable, is especially good for a science-enamored kid like mine. It’s one thing for him to learn to suspend disbelief at the movie theater, another thing entirely to do that with his own life. I don’t know where the world’s scientific developments would be without the capacity to imagine, desire, fear or believe in things that seem just too crazy to be real.

Related Posts:

I like the two Americans

Declan’s a fan of Barack Obama. But he also asks about John McCain, aware that he’s the other face we see the most on television these days. I’ve tried to explain what the president of the USA does, that some people like one man and some the other, and how elections work.

He came back at me with “I like Barack Obama. I like John McCain. I like the two Americans.”

You know, if I could only bottle that and put it in the water supply.

I think what that tells me is that I’ve been acting more measured about this election than I feel. In 2004, I liked Kerry, but my negative feelings about Bush were overwhelming. We have our reasons for voting Obama here, but disdain for John McCain isn’t chief among them. In fact, I know I dislike the policies and the ugliness of the campaign strategies, while there is still plenty I admire about the man.

I really hope that if Obama wins today, one of the big lessons is that character assassination campaigns are not only uninspired, their results are limited. (The anti-Obama Reverend Wright commercials just made me ill last night. Seeing them in contrast with news coverage about Obama’s grandmother’s death just highlighted their tackiness.)

I’ve explained to my son that he’s not allowed to vote until he’s 18 several times in the past week. This morning, knowing that his daddy still had to vote today, he told me: “I’m 18.” (His dad worked for ACORN when he was a young man, but we didn’t try to register our three-year-old, I swear.) Declan got dressed enthusiastically and they went to the polls. He’s not angry or scared or even apprehensive about the results – he’s just purely and beautifully excited to participate in this world, in our country, in democracy. He wants to vote for his preferred candidate of the two Americans.

I just got a call that their voting trip was successful, that the wait wasn’t too bad, and that Declan got to press the button for Barack Obama and cast his daddy’s vote.

Here’s a song for my voting Irishmen: O’Bama.

Good luck to those of you voting today.

If you have any problems at the polls, call one of these hotlines:

1-866-MYVOTE1 (866-698-6831)
1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

Related Posts:

Because motherhood has made me a nerd…

This video was going around the geekosphere a few weeks ago, but it’s appropriate today, since they’ve officially hit the switch on the Large Hadron Collider. I understand (because I have to be told) that the science in the rap is good for anyone who wants to try and understand what it is exactly that the LHC does.


The site that answers the question, “Has the Large Hadron Collider Destroyed the World Yet?” has been getting all the play, but the live-blogging of the opening events at Cosmic Variance is more informative.

In other nerd news, Bad Astronomer Phil Plait put out a great digest of Barack Obama’s science policy that I think you should read. This is one critical area that Hillary Clinton covered well during the primaries, that I felt Obama did not. I’m happy to see that he’s adopted most of what I liked about her platform, and then some. Yay!

P.S. Yo, America – let’s call a moratorium on thinking about, discussing or otherwise considering animals wearing make-up, okay? All of these euphemisms are making the presidential election seem like a Fellini film.

P.P.S. John McCain, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I mean, really.

Related Posts:

Blog, uninterrupted

Today is my birthday and I’ve just dropped my son off at play camp. That means I have two whole uninterrupted hours to do something or other. I could make a more responsible choice, but it’s my personal holiday, so I’m going to blog about a bunch of random crap. Hooptydoo!

Topic # 1: If I could just accept these things, I might be happier
1. I’m 38. It’s 2008. Really, it is.

2. My birthday will always fall between Comfest and the Fourth of July (hence Doo Dah Parade), therefore my husband will always look gobsmacked that the day has arrived, and run out at some inconvenient last-minute time to buy me a gift, or offer to buy me something practical that I was already going to get for myself and then not wrap it. However, I get flowers year-round for no reason.

3. If I need to get somewhere on time and Declan is with me, I should aim to get there 10 minutes before whatever it is starts.

4. My father’s birthday gift to me will arrive on Christmas. I already have cards from cousins-in-law on the piano. My mom got me a cake and something else that there is a 99 percent chance I will like. My dog will probably not poop in the dining room today because it’s sunny. Family is what it is and hooray for what it is.

5. This will be the year I learn to like fireworks. Declan will teach me.

Topic #2: Brief rants
1. Who thought it would be a good idea to call a food event A Taste of Boom? And is this only funny to me because I have a toddler? Does the fact that I think this is funny mean that I’m suddenly going to start laughing at the poopy jokes in the Shrek movies? Because I don’t, usually.

2. I was so very sad that I’m not going to BlogHer this year – Skybus folded and ruined my plans. But now I’m not sad anymore. I’ve been watching some stupidity unfold in the mom-o-blog-o-sphere and Twitter, and it’s giving me agita. It seems someone semi-famous said something critical of someone non-very famous (in blogging terms) and then a bunch of blind criticism of said semi-famous person ensued. I had to contort my brain into a Complete Intersection CalabiYau Manifold to try and figure out what the hell was going on and why, and in the end, it felt like the clarion calls for women to be decent to each other have become at least as punitive and damning as the original critcism, only launched by, like 50 people instead of one.

If, for some masochistic reason, you want to follow this, go here and here, and if you’re feeling particularly nosy, here. The original offending comments are here and here and here. I think I wouldn’t have bothered if I’d only known what all the hubbub was about to begin with, but it was introduced as though there was a crisis of decency among mommybloggers that needed to be addressed, with no actual details presented, which, being a mom blogger, tantalized me to dig into what was happening so I could have an informed opinion. (And it’s what journalists do.)

Seems like there was an interesting opportunity there to discuss blog community, blog culture, idea ownership or maybe even appropriate avenues for criticism that has instead drawn people into different camps of self-righteous back-slaps and high-fives. Yuck. I feel totally outside of the mommy blogging “community” now. Have a nice time y’all!

3. Dan and I clarified some of the details of the often asked-about ending of Little Brother’s here.

4. Okay, I’m still sad about not going to BlogHer, because there are a few people I would really have liked to meet who live and write and play well outside of all of that crap that I shouldn’t have bothered writing about.

5. Holy crap, they are playing “Xanadu” by Olivia Newton John in this coffee shop. This is not helping my “I’m 38. It’s 2008” mantra to sink in.

Have a great Wednesday. Eat cake.

P.S. Now they’re playing “Words” by Missing Persons. Perhaps I should come back to this coffee shop daily, because there’s apparently a time warp here that makes this my 12th birthday.

Related Posts:

What do you see?

“These are the pillars of creation,” he said to me today. “See? They look like a daddy, a mommy and a baby.”

They are inside of the Eagle Nebula – a stellar nursery.

I’m glad that he sees us among the stars.

Here’s a tour he loves to take:

Related Posts:

And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all

Declan scraped his leg and foot about three different times on Saturday, while trying to keep up with his turbo-cleaning parents. When he does something like bonk himself on the elbow, he’ll run to me, say “smooch it!” and go on about the day. But when blood is involved, he bites his lip and runs away, not wanting me to touch it, let alone clean or bandage it.

I struggled to get him into the bathtub that evening, a place he’s usually happy to visit. He gazed at the water lovingly, but resisted. “I don’t want a bath,” he told me repeatedly. After a while, he confessed the reason: “My foot still hurts.”

Looking at the small mix of blood and mud on his leg, I knew I had to get him into the tub.

“A bath can make your foot feel so much better,” I told him. It might sting a little bit when you get in, but in a few minutes, it won’t hurt as much.”

After more negotiation and a bit of pleading on my part, he opted to take my word for it. He stepped in, blinked his eyes a couple of times, then proceeded to enjoy his bath, as usual.

When I asked him how his scrapes felt a few minutes later, he surprised me with “you told the truth, mommy. You said it would sting a little bit and then it would feel better.”

“Is that what happened?” I asked him.

He nodded. “It feels better.”

I believe in the power of telling kids the truth. Not everyone agrees with me.

In a few days, a placebo pill for children will be available online. Named “Obecalp” (get it?), it’s apparently “designed to have the texture and taste of actual medicine so it will trick kids into thinking that they’re taking something.”

The product strikes me as insane. I know a few too many people who have looked at pills as a pat solution to ailments, and that approach only mired them in deeper problems. No matter how miraculous the cure that some pills offer may feel, pills are scientific, not magical things that you consume blindly. And outside of an infection or certain other temporary conditions, they shouldn’t be seen as a solitary answer to any condition. In my perfect world, there would be nutritional advice with every diagnosis, as well as advice on fitness, or any other relevant lifestyle habit. In my mind, a child with hypochondria probably has deeper emotional needs or problems (or is scarred by parents who choose to do things like LIE TO THEM ABOUT PILLS).

Granted, I am a person who could barely sit through the movie Life is Beautiful because the premise that the loving thing to do for a Jewish child in Nazi Germany was to lie about what’s really happening positively drove me up the wall. I don’t think lying is part and parcel of parenting. There are truths I have definitely sidestepped with Declan because I don’t think it’s necessary or wise to impart life’s harsh realities to a toddler, but I can’t imagine calculating the best way to lie to him convincingly. Besides, once they’re old enough to realize that they don’t actually disappear when they cover their own face with a blanket, children aren’t so easily duped.

What’s your take on this? Am I overlooking an instance where a placebo could be ethically used to help a child?

P.S. There was a good commentary on NPR by a doctor who is opposed to the product.

Related Posts: