The chair is damp. It’s a sticky dampness that clings to my skirt when I stand up. It’s really only water, or milk. Or it was once milk, or orange juice or water, and now it’s all steeped in the yellow spongey cushion inside the chair. Knew I should have put on plastics. Or not have gotten fabric seats, vinyl is all the rage these days. Idiot. But when I got married and bought these chairs, I wasn’t considering children, and their propensity to spill, just that these chairs were pretty, and plastic protector were ugly. Well, they still are ugly, but I’ve gotten pragmatic in my old age. Ugh.
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It is the human condition where people believe their beliefs, perspectives, and attitudes to be among the average consensus. Meaning, most people will agree with what we say and do, or at least understand it.
Obviously this is a very flawed logic and condition as evidenced by the amount of frivolous strife a person encounters each day. Arguments over who’s turn it is to take the garbage out, that the driver ahead of you should have made the light, that your mother in law should keep her comments to herself – none of these would have happened if all people were synced. We’re not, yet we still hold ourselves to be normal.
So, I pose a question. We’re all individuals, yet societies norm and averages make up consensus of what is acceptable or not, what falls under the umbrella of the bell curve, and what is beyond standard deviation; I speak on the topic of hostesses, and guests.
I love to play hostess, and rarely have an opportunity to be on the other side, but when I am, this is my modus-operandus – blend in. I don’t like to have my presence shouted from the rafters. I try to be as unobtrusive as possible, leave thing undisturbed, and if I do disturb them, to put them back so no one need know that I was here. Some people may perceive this of not liking my hostess, or being intimidated by them. I think it’s a sign of respect. I’m in their home, I play by their rules. Mostly this sort of thing comes up in the bathroom and kitchen, where most guests need to take of their needs, big or small.
Every home has some sort of system as to where every item belongs, and even if there is no system, but a haphazard dump, the things are generally dumped in the same vicinity time and again. The mugs in one cabinet, the towels slung over the oven door handle, the shower curtain drawn shut, the shampoo up in the caddy etc. and guests interact with these items, and use them as they see fit – which is wonderful. What arises next is, what does the guest do with the item once finished with it. Does he place it where he found it, following the order of the home he’s visiting, or does he put it where he finds most convenient – usually in line with the system he has running in his own home?
I’ve already stated that I do the former. All my guests are among the latter. Naturally I think I’m of the standard opinion. Statistics seems to indicate my minority status. But I’m not sure that it makes sense that ALL my guests follow their own system, my view is not that radical that no one else I know subscribes to it. I must therefore draw the conclusion that I am such a wonderful hostess that my guest forget they’re guest, think they’re home, and act accordingly.
So the question, what do you do when you’re a guest in someone else’s home. Will you make me a part of the masses, or further isolate me in my marginal status.
(I realize this post may seem like a chastisement of my guests. It’s not, it’s just a commentary on different perspectives. If a bathmat out of place has me banning guests, I probably have bigger issues.)
My mother tells me it’s time for a new blog post. She’s bored of visiting my blog, disappointed when she sees nothing new. I told her to set up a Google reader account to save her the agmas nefesh. Forget about setting it up being too difficult for her, she didn’t really understand its function when I tried explaining it. But never mind that.
I agree with my mother, it is time for a new blog post. And I have a lot to say – I’m just too busy doing nothing to say it. Nothing is relative of course. I spend most of my day tending to my adorable, but perpetually cranky baby. Or I’m in bed sleeping. Some old adages are right and smart – Sleep when the baby sleeps.
So the adage works with your first kid, but when you have a kid running around it’s not so easy to say,
“Ooh yay, the baby shtunker is finally sleeping – I’ll pop in for a nap – if that’s ok with you E – don’t break my china teacups like you almost did yesterday, k?”
Well, I suppose it’s easy to say, not to do.
So…I’m a little homebound and going out of my mind. I went to the park in my complex a few days this week. The other women looked at me in wonderment – what was I doing outside?!! And I was thinking, Oh G-d I can’t believe it took me this long to get outside. Seriously, I don’t think I was outdoors for a week after I had the baby. And besides cranky babies magically shut up outside – nature’s best.
It’s only three weeks, and it feels like months (well, when your night turn into days, and days nights and there’s a point where you can’t differentiate between the two because you’re too busy pacing your hallways, arms jiggling, trying to calm a baby, time seems to pass Reeeeeeeally slowly.) I don’t even remember what it feels like to be pregnant – yes, I did just write that. I don’t remember, there’s too much overriding it.
I taught Macbeth this year; I didn’t think I could ever relate to him, but I do now: Act II Scene II
“Macbeth: Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!”
So bear with me, while I bear with my baby.
The front door had been boarded up, so I approached the back entrance, with the patio. The lock worked no longer, and the door gave way by my slight push. A whoosh of fresh air intermingled with the stale ashes, and I sneezed as they collided. Sun shone through the cardboard covered windows, clouds of dust and sun particles swirled and danced enchantingly, beckoning me forward.
Everything was where it had been abandoned. Aside from a fine accumulation of dust, and the acute smell of smoke, the home stood, waiting. The glass top table with little fingerprints on its underside where the kids played beneath it, the pantry door with the broken child safety lock hung ajar. The rug by the sink, the mat by the door, both needed a good beating. Plastic cups from late nigh thirst quenches lay waiting to be disposed. I opened one cabinet, all the dishes were there, stacked uniformly, waiting.
I couldn’t do it anymore, my hands refused to open a closet. These things were no longer mine; my feet retraced their steps. They no longer had my smell, my touch, my familiarity, or my trust. All these things I betrayed, they are no longer a part of me, a definition of me. I am no phoenix, I will plant my seeds elsewhere.
Outside he looked at me eagerly.
“Take whatever you want,” I said. “Insurance is covering everything anyway.”
His lips parted, and there was a moment before he found his voice,
“You sure? Anything? Don’t you want some memories?”
I shook my head, no I don’t want any memories.
People have very different opinions on reward and punishment when it comes to children. When a child misbehaves people generally punish the child (not getting into how they punish, whether it’s a stern talking to, silent treatment, withholding a treat to spanking – irrelevant in this article).
However when a child does what he’s supposed to do, this is where people begin to differ. I hear the side when people say, “don’t reward a child for good behavior, he’s supposed to be good regardless, it’s not an extra something they’re doing”. It makes sense, why needlessly spoil a child and basically give them tools to manipulate you with.
Then today I took my 2 month old to the doctor for a well visit. And boy was I proud of him. I was able to tell the doctor that my Shmooshky smiles at me, tracks me from across the room, holds his head beautifully…I was so proud and I told my son so. And when the nurse informed me that he had gained 2 and ¾ pounds, I was glowing, and told my son how brilliant and special he was. Now really, all he did was what he’s supposed to do. There isn’t even cognitive thought and intent there, this is what is body was made and meant to do at this stage and he was performing a function. When the doctor asked about his skills it wasn’t so much as a yes or no, but rather just checking for conformation. And yet I’m still a proud Mama, because my son is doing what he’s supposed to be doing.
So back to the original quandary…should parents reward their child for doing what expected of them? Looking at my reaction, one may think I say yes, but I think my reward was really more affirming for me than my child. Telling me that I did a good job raising my child that he’s capable of doing the things he should. It sounds a little egotistical to compliment my own parenting skills, so I just coo at my son instead.
So now, are parents just misplacing their rewards? Should we be rewarding ourselves for our child’s good behavior?
I think so. Who’s sponsoring my chocolate?
I never fully appreciated what a good person I am, and the amazing service I provide for humanity.
You know when you’re nervous about doing something, anxious about the process, can you do it, make it, or will it ever happen to you? Like can you land a job, get a date, get married, pass your road test, manage labor naturally, be a mother, or father?
One tool people find very helpful is to find someone who they would generally think very unlikely to complete that given task or milestone, and to pump yourself up and say “If they can do it, then I totally can!”
Basically, by putting the other person down, because you believe them to be weaker or more incompetent than you, or incompatible in some way or another, you get this reassurance that if they can do it, you can to, and a drive to prove that right.
We’re all guilty of this. I looked at some friends when it came to driving, completing assignments, getting the courage to speak up…
Of course there is a major flaw in this whole system because the whole premise is that you perceive the other person to be lacking, and that you are not. Key word is perceive, perception is not objective reality. But never mind the flaws, the system works for a lot of people (well, most people, until they fail to achieve whatever it is).
So, who are these pathetic beings that people use to make themselves feel better about themselves, give them courage and hope in hard and dark times. Who are these selfless saviors of humanity that selflessly achieve just for others to believe that they can do it to?
Well, one person…ME!
I did the world a great favor by getting married. If I could get married to the type of man that I did, then anyone else can get the man of their dream.
I also encouraged the world by having a baby. You see I’m not exactly the poster child for motherhood, I scare kids, and babies and I don’t have a sweet high pitch cooing bone in my body. I had a baby (well, anyone can have a baby, there are 13 year old doing it every day), am managing just fine, and I am a very maternal cootchie mootchie mother. Never mind the fact that I always said I hated kids, and just give them to me as teenagers.
So for those of you who wondered if you will ever get married, and those who lie awake at night wondering if you could manage the mandatory sleep deprivation that motherhood demands, you owe me one, because today you know YOU CAN!