Monthly Archives: November 2013

Monsterface

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I had a cute idea the other day. I was thinking of things I could decorate the butt of some pants I was making for Thing 2 with. I thought about ruffles but I have a fundamental dislike of ruffle butts. I think it comes from dressing little girls in too short dresses and expecting to see their ruffled bloomers or underwear. Something about that really rubs me the wrong way. Like it’s cutesy sexualization. So no butt ruffles. Logically you would think that this should extend to all butt decorations. Maybe if I were being rational it would. But it doesn’t seem to.

Anyhow, I had the idea that I could sew on cute monster faces. Some scissor time and sewing later and I made enough eyes and teeth for a pair of pants for Thing 2 and a shirt (stock unfavourite black tee from Kmart. Much cheaper at $6 than me trying to sew my own shirt) for Thing 1.

It was very easy. I didn’t take pictures during, but I should be able to describe the process.

Cut some circles for eyes. Cut some smaller circles for pupils. Sew the pupils to the eyeballs.

Draw some jagged teeth on a folded piece of cloth. Sew along the lines and then turn inside out so the stitching is hidden.

Sew the top of the teeth/mouth on. Leave the bottoms of the teeth hanging loose.

Sew the eyeballs on.

All done!

Pictures:

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Yeah it’s a bit blurry..

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Now, some things I took into account: Eyeballs are not on boobies. I lowered them a bit so they are more on the belly. Adjust according to child.

One thing I should have done was raise the eyeballs and teeth on the pants. They curl under a bit too much. The eyes should be up closer to the waistband.  There are likely to be more of these though. So sew and learn I guess.

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Fighting the woo

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When you, or especially your child, has one of those problems not well recognized or treated by modern medicine there is a strong push to retreat into woo. Woo? Woo is pseudoscience, anecdata, do it yourself remedies and non-mainstream treatments. Frustratingly some treatments and procedures that work go strongly hand in hand with woo treatments that may or may not work. When no one you initially go to for help takes you seriously, or gives you any kind of help and you hear about some thing that worked for some one, you get desperate.  You wander off the beaten path looking for anything that will help.

I’ve been there for several conditions. Related to the same issue, but two different modes of treatment, one for me and one for my kids. When I presented with my issue I was desperate and after asking for help and getting none of the professional variety, I tried whatever I could find. Some of it worked, some of it did not. I tried to be objective and not waste time and money. When I was later told that my issue might be related to something about my children I actually spent a fair amount of money getting one of them treated.  While I think it helped, it disturbs me that there is a lot of woo that goes hand in hand with the treatment. It makes me feel like what is probably a highly valid and useful procedure is some kind of scam. Mainly because of the beliefs of the people buying into it. I feel that though I think I can see some difference, that the procedure or talking about it or doing it puts me on the edge of reasonable. I don’t want to be on the edge of reasonable.

There are variations in people looking for help. There are people like me who are told there is no treatment, or are brushed off with something to ameliorate the symptoms without doing any treating or diagnosing whatsoever and are seeking help wherever it can be found, then there are people who are seeking alternative treatments because of a mistrust in mainstream treatments for whatever reason. One can see how these might come to overlap. I think what I find disturbing is the lack of other people’s critical thinking. If something is not mainstream, but effective,  then that seems to open up the door for other, less effective non-mainstream methods. Because it’s natural, or herbal, or, yikes, homeopathic. The assumption that natural means harmless or risk free is particularly galling to me.

The people who encounter the first and find something that works and then plunge uncritically into the realm of the second is something I find upsetting. That indicates a failure somewhere in the system, either in diagnosing, treating or just basic helping of the patient. I think in most cases it’s not worth it to argue with the person who chooses natural just because (assumption of risk free or harmless).

Myself, when I use an alternate remedy, I am very careful to evaluate cost, perceived effectiveness, as well as any side effects.  I hope I’m doing a good job eliminating any placebo effect. There have been things I really really wanted to work, that simply didn’t pass my cost/benefit worthiness requirements. So I no longer use them. If something is low cost, with low side effects and only works minimally to moderately well I will still use it because there is not significant contraindication to me using it. Conversely, if something is costly (in either time or finances) it needs to work more than moderately well for me to continue using it. I try to feel better about using alternative remedies simply because there are no actual remedies (or none I have access to). But then I feel like I’m just doing it to do something, and that maybe nothing is better than something and I should just stop.  Oh, it’s frustrating.

I was raised on a plethora of hippy-science because my parents were poor, non-science educated, and also of the opinion that natural was better. So part of me finds it particularly galling and yet ironic for me, science educated, sort of critical thinking, to be relying on such natural methods. Not that I’m keen to be pumping my body full of pharmaceuticals, but I would like to have something beyond anecdata and folklore to go on. Clinical trials even, if not double blind randomized. Known side effects. Rates of effectiveness. Stuff like that.

I think the biggest grump for me is that I have to do this without guidance. There’s no one I can really talk to about whether something is working or not, or about any side effects I’m having. That I have to watch out for side effects, gauge effectiveness myself, and all I’m doing is adding to a hidden pile of anecdata that anyone not in the position to need or want to try alternative treatments can write off as an unproven remedy.

She’s going to have a hard time.

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My eldest daughter often comes out with statements like “I like boys”, and “I don’t like girls”, and “all my friends are boys”. She’s three for reference. There is very little if any internalized (or otherwise) misogyny in our house, and she loves princesses and mermaids and skirts and shoes and other traditionally girly pursuits so I’ve been trying to figure out where this attitude comes from. I was hesitant at first to go down the pink and purple rabbit hole of having a girl, and honestly I still drag my feet on some designs and accoutrements, but I do accommodate her desire for pretty things. Seems a little early to be feeling down on the female gender.

We had some struggle initially, thanks to the failure of children’s book writers, getting her to understand that she was a girl and not a boy, but she seems happy to be a girl now. She also likes having a sister, and has requested that any future babies also be sisters (though she wants them to be black, as in the colour, not the colloquial term for racial characteristics, so who knows). It’s not coming from home, so this has to be coming from daycare. I have also noticed that other little girls at daycare are interested in her, greeting her and wanting to play with her, but when she talks about other kids at daycare, she talks about the boys. I think that it’s simply that the things she likes to do are the things that some of the boys like to do as well. The girls have impressed on her that bugs are yucky so she gamely tries out screams at the sight of them (but she likes bugs, and snakes and spiders), but the boys have no such compunctions. Similarly she likes rough and outside play within reason. The other girls do not seem to, so again, the boys are her natural companions.

On the other hand, she’s also bossy. I guess for maximum female empowerment you are supposed to say that girls are good leaders rather than bossy, but no. She’s just bossy. She orders people around and doesn’t take kindly to people not doing what she wants. She rarely asks why about anything. Instead she decides how things are going to go, or how she thinks they should go and informs you of this. Bossy, see? Perhaps that’s why she prefers boys over girls. Who knows, perhaps the boys submit to her orders and the girls argue back. Hence: I like boys.

She’s also an extrovert in a house with two introverted parents. Bad luck, eh? Well, I guess. I mean she is really bad about entertaining herself and desperately does not like to do things alone. Even Thing 2 is more of an introvert than Thing 1.  So instigator of activities, bossy, requires constant social interaction, physically active. We were only half-joking when we thought she might grow up to do something totally unrelatable to us like human resources, or corporate team builder. It’s going to be rough for her I think. Possibly just because I’m not telling her what she should like, but I see the parents of other girls determining what their daughters like. In some ways because the ways she is and the activities she likes are unrelatable for me.

All this consternates me. I feel like she’s going to have a hard time because of just existing as a girl. Though I think I would think that no matter what type of girl she was. I remember intensely disliking being a girl, but I was seven or eight and had already been bluntly encountering anti-girl sentiment and I remember feeling how intensely unfair it was to be a girl. How I would much rather be a boy because they could do anything and I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I want her to know that there’s as many ways of being a girl as there are girls and not grow up thinking she is different/better than the other girls because she doesn’t conform to some female ideal. My husband is often frustrated at traditional male pursuits, and feels like he doesn’t belong to the boys club as he doesn’t know about sports or cars and wasn’t taught to throw or catch a ball. I never felt like I fit in as a girl, not being thin, or looking right, or wanting to do the right things. For me my troubles with girlhood were more external or appearance based, but for her I worry that they will be more internal. So she can get along until she has to struggle with herself about what she thinks and believes.

I sort of feel because I’m purposefully leaving things open-ended for her that things are going to be harder figuring things out as she goes, rather than at some unspecified point later.  I think it upsets me that now that I sort of have this whole being a female thing sort of figured out, knowing what is mostly bullshit, and what is useful, that I’m unsure how much, if any, of what I know and can teach her will be useful to the kind of girl she will be. Seriously though, it’s likely that no matter what it’s just hard. Being human can be tough.

 

Working, or not

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Right now I have a fantastic job. I get to do what I am trained for, I have lovely people to work with. The company is pretty good too. Sure I am sometimes bored and don’t always have enough to do, but I really enjoy my job and the break it gives me from mom-life. Soon though we are going to move, for a multitude of very good reasons, and I am becoming increasingly sad about leaving my job and what that will mean. I keep reminding myself that us moving is logically a good thing and really the only con, other than the (significant) hassle of moving, is leaving my job. I remind myself of that especially when my husband says that we could stay just for my job. I’m not sure if I believe he means it. It’s also a frustrating thing to hear because A. we’ve left my work for reasons related to him before (and I’m mostly ok with it these days because life turned out ok, but I was sad for a time) and B. I’m not the primary earner and my job does effectively come second to everything. Sadly, as the primary care giver to the kids because of my non-primary earner status, my job is more like a hobby that I get paid for. I’m first choice for kid sickness duty, errands and so on.

In short I would really feel guilty if I did make us stay. No one would be happy including me.

In looking around for work at our new location (we have been planning for a while) I certainly see things I could do that are full time. Did I forget to mention part of what makes my job so fabulous is that it is part time with the option to change my hours? So yeah, fulltime is easy enough to come by. Now, I’m not looking at this from any kind of financial perspective, because I have privileged people problems and I don’t need to work. Essentially my job needs to cover child care and a bit extra. But full time means I do give up daytime activities with my kids, and I think more importantly, fulltime means I would lose some ability to cook proper dinners. Right now at 60%, or 3 full days per week, I premake a lot of food and dish it out and heat it up on my work days. Small children don’t want to wait for me to cook something. I could do without tanties at the kitchen gate. Not that what I make gets eaten with great gusto or anything, because uuurgh, picky kids,  but I do like making food for my family.  It seems like a small thing but apparently it’s big enough to have me considering not working at all. Another factor is of course the days I work I feel so rushed. I get home, feed kids and prepare their daycare bags for the next day and then we have about an hour or so before it’s getting toward bedtime for them, then bedtimes and then bedtime for me. Right now three days in a row of that has me ready to be done by the end of the third day. I don’t think five days of that would be great. Then the weekend rolls around and I spend all of Saturday catching up on the house stuff I didn’t do the three days I was working so the weekend is not very relaxing in any way.

My other option is not working at all. Right now if we have a 3+ day weekend that cuts into one of my work days and I end up with five or more days off I start to get very antsy. On my regular four days without work (weekend and 2 weekdays), we do at least one out of the house toddler activity on a weekday and a family activity on the weekend. I don’t feel like I would cope well with no work days. I find  working is also very important for my mental health. I think if I did do this things would have to be very regimented and planned out in advance so we had a schedule all the time. Of course the no working at all is bad in other ways. If I get a sizeable career gap I will have a much harder time finding work in the future. This concerns me because of our plans to have a further baby. I could be looking at  at least 18 months where starting a  new job is not feasible (9 months of pregnancy and 9 months of baby care before back to work). If I had a job before this it would be different, but it’s a tricky time to be job hunting. Or baby making. I do plan to go back to work full time at some point when the kids are older and all in school, but not when they are toddlers and preschoolers. And of course with me not working we won’t have my extra income. It’s not much after daycare and travel expenses, but it is nice to have.

Right now I just plan to keep looking for new work. I have a kinda-sorta request in for transfer, but realistically I’m 0.6 of a job so it’s not impossible, but not likely either. I have a fantastic CV and experience, so I’ll be a good contender for anything I apply for.