Friday, November 18, 2005

Family Controversy

So, for years my family has been embroiled in deep controversy over a very serious issue. We battle back and forth in our divided camps - my father and I on one side, my sisters staunchly on the other, with my mother settling comfortably in the middle - each side firmly convinced of the righteousness and merit of their decision. My faith that we may one day convert them never waivers. Every year without fail I continue to ask, beg and even threaten to no avail. My sister absolutely refuses to make a Christmas list.

Now, she has always maintained that this is because lists are impersonal. As devoted family members we should automatically be able to read her mind and "know" what she wants. Which is all nice and sweet, but if you, like me, are one of those whose mind-reading skills have either never developed or simply haven't emerged yet (holding on hope for that one yet), then you are totally screwed. My father and I maintain that lists are helpful, and they guarantee that you will actually get something you want under the tree instead of having to force that fake smile on your face when you receive your fifth "Bubba" the singing fish.

This conflict goes back so far into our family history that I can't even remember when it began. Over the years, though, I have become accustomed to the stubbornness of the opposite side and have slid into the simplistic pattern of buying the ultimate gift for the list-less, the gift certificate. But, this year, well, this year, my friends, is quite different. You see, in times past I could forgive my sister's recalcitrance and chalk it up as one of her charming idiosyncracies. Now, however, she has dragged my adorable and oh so innocent little niece into the dark and sinister land of the list-impaired. My poor innocent and beautiful niece (she's the angry chicken from the self-titled post below :) who has done nothing wrong execpt have the misfortune to be born into a family which worships list-lessness. I can't give an 8-month old a gift certificate! Can you imagine her little face on Christmas morning, eagerly ripping the wrapping paper into tiny, little edible shreds, stuffing those shreds eagerly into her little mouth, then having said shreds forcibley removed from her mouth by her poor parents (who have probably begun to realize that and 8-month old has little interest in opening presents for any reason other than to stick the paper in her mouth), then she finaly gets to the actual present only to realize that she's accidentally eaten it!!?? Poor, poor, Yelena! And, kids don't outgrow the wrapping paper eating habit for years. Can you imagine the number of gifts she'll consume!!?? All the while thinking, "My aunt Lisa is a real jerk! Can't she buy something I'm not interested in chewing up into spitwads?"

I write this narrative not just to inform, but also as a plea to all of you list-defectives in the audience. For the love of all that is holy, spare your loved ones the pain, agony and inevitable paper cuts, give them a freakin' list!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Working Moms

*sigh* I've been having to leave the kids with a childcare provider full-time for the last couple of weeks since Tim is in the States (wah! Come home soon!!), and it has become increasingly hard to drop off my precious little babies with someone else. Don't get me wrong, I really love our provider. I spend a lot of time over there since I usually stop by for my lunch hour to feed Jocelyn, and she is a really great lady. In fact, she started her own day care specifically so she could stay home with her kids, so she can sympathize with my feelings. I never expected to feel this strongly about it. Of course, part of it might be that I really detest my job right no, get absolutely zero satisfaction out of it, and my boss is a big jerk-face, all of which just adds to the immense feelings of guilt and jealousy at having to leave my baby with someone else who then gets to experience all her little smiles and coos. But, I also just saw this piece on the news about working moms who take a few years off to stay home with their kids. Mainly it was about a study which showed that out of 100+ Wharton MBA women who took time off after haing kids, every single one of those who returned to the workforce had lower paying, non-managerial jobs that were less prestigious than their old jobs. They also found it harder to get promoted once they were hired by a company. That is so depressing! I would really like to take a break from working for a while and stay home, especially when we have another baby, but I don't want to completely de-rail all of my professional dreams. Why does it have to be this hard!!??

Monday, November 07, 2005

Children & Halloween

Some recent comments have inspired me to write this short and sweet guide to children and Halloween. 1st, my big sis is absolutely correct, you can never spend too much money on a costume that will only be worn once for approximately 20 minutes and be the recipient of so much baby urp that you will never be able to resell it on Ebay to recoup your money. Why? Well, just look at the below pictures. Just one of those photos is worth any amount of cajoling, pleading and bribing necessary to get your child to wear whatever ridiculous costume you've picked out. 2nd, I am particularly lucky this year because my oldest is six, which, as it turns out, is the best age at which to manipulate your child into wearing the costume you picked out by telling them that Little Bo Peep is, in fact, a very famous "singing star." Okay, so she didn't actually believe that, but she did really like the idea of having her sister and Britney (our dog) as her sheep. Unfortunately, it appears as though the booming doggie costume business (and that is not a joke) have neglected the lucrative farm animal corner of the market, and so I was unable to turn Britney into a sheep (since I clearly lack the creative gene my mom possesses, making such a costume was out of the question). Still, it was easy to console Caitlyn with the knowledge that Britney was actually a sheepherding dog, though she very much attempted to be a small children-herding dog since she was completely overwhelmed by the multitude of trick-or-treaters on the streets. 3rd, three months is the absolute best time to get an infant to wear a costume (so plan to have your children in late July or August) since they are just old enough to fit the costume, yet completely oblivious to anything going on around them. And so they will sit quietly since they are not yet old enough to complain or be embarressed by your obsessive mommy-ing, while you take the previously mentioned pictures of cuteness. And that, my friends, is what I've learned so far about children and Halloween. I understand from my friends with older children, a species far different from the smaller versions, that it gets successively more difficult as time goes on and you have to worry about your pre-teen wanting to go out as something "sexy" or co-ed parties, etc. I hope to God both of my children are as geeky as I was during my middle school years so I don't have to deal with that!

Yelena the Angry Chicken

Such a cute little chicky!

Doesn't Yelena look exactly like Stef when she was a baby? I'm so jealous!! My kids don't look anything like me. How did I turn out two such fair-haired children??!!