Sunday, February 26, 2012

15.2.12 - The stinky fruit carbon tax

I had to bring my son home from daycare and leave work early yesterday because he had a bout of conjunctivitis, a big no-no in daycare centers. On a good day, a daycare center, no matter how clean it is, can be considered a petri dish of harmless but annoying minor ailments. It’s winter here at the moment (read: breeding ground for bacteria) so the likelihood of him catching something is slightly higher than usual.

So today I am working from home. Normally, that would mean missing meetings and “catching up” but with today’s technology, my boss could be in Tanzania and it wouldn’t make a difference – I tuned into two meetings via Skype and have enjoyed a regular series of emails back andforth that I would have with him and other colleagues if I was sitting mere feet away.

So that’s good, right? I can do it all!

My friends have long chided me about my inflated sense of ego when it comes to “doing it all” because I always seem to forget that something, no matter how minor it is, will slip through the cracks in my attempt to be superwoman. Working from home, all of my “jobs” are in play; one as an editor, another as Queen of Domesticity (read: wife) and most importantly, engaged parent. This morning, I was pretty sure I had all my bases covered. The baby went down for a morning snooze; the washing was on, I was answering emails and was about to tune into a meeting and I had even put pears on the stove to cook so baby boy could have some stewed fruit in the afternoon. Brilliant!

Or so I thought. I suddenly noticed that the sweet smell of stewed fruit had turned unpleasant. Was that damn gardener from next door smoking near the kitchen window again? No. I had just left the pears on too high a heat and they had burned into the pot. I watched helplessly as smoke generously filled my kitchen and wafted through my house.

As a new parent who reads way too many internet articles, I internally freaked. Shit! My house was filling with deadly carbon fumes that will surely cause my child to have emphysema and a third nipple! What to do? Common sense prevailed and I opened up every window I could to air out the house and cooled down the offensive cookware before quickly nipping outside to throw it in the garbage. But what now? How will I get all the smoke out of the house? Is it creeping into his bedroom where he’s sleeping soundly? What have I done? Will I be arrested for bad parenting/crappy cooking? So on and so forth. The inside of my head is really a hot, stinking mess sometimes.

Shortly after disposing of the toxic pot, my son woke up and my boss called on Skype to start the next meeting. The meeting lasted about 25 minutes, in which time he needed to be breastfed, changed, dressed and have some solid food as well. I happily achieved all of this and scribbled out notes out in my fuzzy shorthand while my boss was firing off directions in Hebrew.

Superpowers slowly returning. Hysteria subsiding. My child will survive another day of my parenting. Multitasking ho!

To be sure of anything, I am a woman. The rest is commentary.

Monday, February 20, 2012

9.2.12 - "Soooo cute" - The Facebook photo response

I live in Tel Aviv. A majority of my family and friends, however, do not. They mostly live in Australia, and various parts of the US. They are “missing” out on my child’s development in the physical sense, but not entirely because I post photos of him regularly on Facebook. Now, according to its landing page, Facebook’s aim is, quite literally, to help me keep in touch and share with the people I know.  So I do. Often. And to be honest, I never tire of hearing other people tell me, in whatever way, that he’s “soooo cute.” Because he is.

I have to wonder though; will my Facebook sharing of his every move drive him directly into the arms of a therapist?

In the “old” days, proud parents pulled out a swatch of photos from their wallet or pocketbook to show any poor shmo who even dared ask about the wellbeing of their child everything said child had done since the last time the parent developed a roll of film . Nowadays you can get such gratification in the click of a mouse and it can be shared around the world in a matter of seconds. It’s great; no one has to miss out and I can be chuffed every time I open the site to see yet another comment of adoration about baby boy’s delectable face.  However, is this flurry of information sharing just the tip of the iceberg of ways I am going to screw this kid up? I’m not dumb enough to think I won’t; I just have to wonder though if this is where it begins, or will he wait until we have the sex talk to be really mad at us. Who knows; maybe kids of his vintage will see Facebook like we saw the embarrassing bath photo our parents always seemed to need to show company. Just a fuddy-duddy thing that parents do that’s momentarily embarrassing but equally sweet because they helped us remember a time that we can’t. Maybe. Or maybe it’ll start an episode of teen angst so bad that he’ll insist on wearing stupid clothing and doing his hair in way I absolutely can’t endure just to make sure I don’t take photos of him and show other people. Although that’ll most likely happen anyway, I can’t help but wonder if this is where it begins.

Moreso, I begin to wonder about what’s appropriate to share and what’s not, because literally every moment that occurs can be posted, tweeted about and broadcast to the masses, which is both good and bad. Good because it eases the tyranny of distance; bad because we’re not present; we’re too concerned with making sure everyone else knows what the present looked like and exactly what was on our minds at the time. Have we forgotten how to just “be”? Maybe. Will my child know how to just “be”? I can’t be sure. What I do know is that for all of my conflicted thoughts on the issue, I’ll still probably post another picture next week of some groundbreaking development, like sitting up or his first taste of yogurt. And I’ll refresh the page over and over again to see who liked it, and who commented, and to simply gaze upon his adorable face. Hell, by the time he can even understand what I’ve done I’m sure we’ll all have been replaced by some form of artificial intelligence. Or we’ll be living on a spaceship, or yellow submarine, as nuclear arms proliferation becomes trendier amongst dictators. My inspiring optimism aside, we’ll just have to wait and see. 

6.2.12 - The shower incident

I got into the shower tonight with my glasses still on. I’m pretty sure that anyone who wears glasses all the time has done something similar at least once. The issue, however, is that once I realized it, I didn’t have the inclination to remove myself or them from the shower’s powerful hot stream of comfort; I merely leaned my head forward a bit.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I am the proud mother of a happy, healthy and utterly hysterical (in the sense that he makes me laugh) 8 month old baby boy. A better baby I couldn’t have dreamed of; tfu tfu tfu and all that jazz. I really do count my blessings every day for having such a gift of a child. I’m also blessed with a wonderful husband who is supportive, an active parent and quite a good cook (not to mention an excellent masseuse) and a great job in my field that pays well and lets me enjoy my life in Tel Aviv quite happily. I’m also 29 years old and healthy.

So why, may I ask, am I so tired?

The simple answer lies somewhere between the part when I said I had a baby and the fact that I work. Either one of those can be “blamed”, but the truth is that I get at least 7 hours sleep a night these days. I drink my morning coffee with gusto and even enjoy, albeit briefly, some time to myself in the mornings on the way to work. That’s a lot more than many parents, or employees for that matter in my position, could ask for. Yet I still have an overwhelming sense of fatigue that causes me, once I sit down for the evening (after the baby has gone down for the night, dinner made and eaten and cleaned up, lunch packed for tomorrow and washing folded), to fall into a deep sleep before the opening credits of whatever show I had intended to watch have even finished. It’s nonsensical; it even seems a tad indulgent. It intrigues me.

I’m going to stretch my mind back to the magical time that I’ve almost entirely forgotten that I will term “BJE” – Before Judah Entered. (My son’s name is Judah. Let’s move on.) BJE, especially a few months BJE when I was the size of a mini van and had no idea where my feet were, weren’t as easy as some may think. I couldn’t sleep then, either; my back ached, I could never get comfortable, and the overt impending reminder of what was about to happen sometimes kept me up nights. I myself have done what a lot new mums might think is cute to those who are still pregnant by saying,“sleep now, because you wont when the baby comes” etc. but I realize now that I should keep such platitudes to myself. If I’m wondering now why I’m so damn tired its because I need to remember that in fact, I’ve not had a good night’s sleep in over a Goddamn year. I haven’t slept properly since the day I looked at a pee-covered stick to find out I had life growing inside me that wasn’t the result of bad sushi. So no matter how much “sleep” I get now (the inverted commas are to point out that no parent sleeps deeply overnight – every moan and groan and nudge and creek set off a series of alarm bells in your head) the truth is that I’ve been sleep deprived for quite a while. Add to this in my particular case the fact that I’ve traveled twice now in the past 12 months to the furthest bloody end of the Earth and back (Australia) and the reality suggests my body clock might well have a mild case of schizophrenia. And that is, actually, ok.

So there. It’s justified. I don’t feel bad now. About this, anyway. I’m a parent; the next guilt trip is surely hiding around the corner waiting to nab me, the little bastard. So I’m ready.  Till next time.