Same job, different uniform.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is anyone paying attention yet?

It has to be blindingly obvious to anyone who is paying the least bit of attention to the news these days that the media is still in the tank for the President. Over the course of his still young presidency, he has produced gaffe after gaffe, error after blunder after botch, and still the cheering section praises his calm demeanor and his cool temperament. He is challenged by the Russians and backs down. He is fronted by the Iranians and nothing much happens. AIG executives get bonuses, and he is shocked, shocked that such a thing could occur, even though the bill that authorized it was shoved through at his behest. He considers taxing employee benefits to pay for universal health care and industry (cap and trade) to fund his various green power boondoggles, and is amazed when anyone objects to raising taxes in the midst of an economic deluge.

Contemplating his endless talking down of the economy in the interest of maintaining a crisis to pass his pet projects gives me heartburn. Let me simply point out that the few things necessary to actually clear the economic debris (suspending mark to market accounting, for one, would help immeasurably) left by the housing implosion remain undone in the interest of tightening regulations on the entire economy and finding scapegoats for the ongoing mess.

So why not just say it? As early along as this is, it is absolutely apparent that this Administration is woefully ill-prepared for the job at hand, and has the arrogance and moral certitude of a modestly educated teenage boy. And if the First Lady is to be believed, the boy and his friends are already partying hearty in the family quarters above the shop.

I have already pointed out to anyone who will listen (and a few who manifestly refuse to pay attention) that this current crowd is beginning to remind me eerily of the Carter Administration. The part that scares me the most is this: President Carter is looking much the better executive in comparison.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Progressive Tidying

True, I am a natural neat freak. Not quite as bad as Monica Geller but I do love to clean. Getting rid of dirt is so satisfying. Now you see it. Now you don't.

But I am not wonder woman. It's hard to keep a house truly clean, let alone tidy.

Here's the secret of my success: I do it in stages. Let's face it, tidying up is mostly about moving something from one room to another. You do NOT have enough time to do this every day. So move it someplace closer first.

Anything outside our bedroom door goes someplace else in the house.For example, when we've stockpiled a few DVDs in our room (Between morning sickness and breastfeeding baby, we've spent a lot of time on our bed watching movies over the past ten months!), I'll set them outside our bedroom door.

Things that need to go downstairs end up on the kitchen table or on the top stair. If it's going in the trash or into the car, it's by the back door. You get the idea.

Piles are great. Reduce them as you go.

It sounds simple, but if you're not a cleaning type person, I suspect it's not. You probably get overwhelmed with piles.


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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Second Youth

Becoming a mother has had the strange and unexpected effect of producing a youthful vulnerability in me. Especially those first few weeks, I carried around a sense of awe, curiosity and joy mixed with a deep need to do what I need to do for my son but realizing I might not know how.

He breastfed the first time, within an hour of birth. It was easy. The next day he wouldn't, and I was pacing the floor, half-dressed, doing everything I could before the RN came in and intervened. In almost any other circumstance I would have found this humiliating. Now, I was just relieved.

Walking to the car, arriving home with a tiny bundle I would call my own, I depended on everyone for everything, while my son depended on me. I could give him the two things he needed most: nourishment and the comfort of love. Others could give me direction and support.

His eyes crusted over every morning. Mom showed me how to hold him over the sink, run warm water and rinse from the inside out. They were clogged tear ducts, so common in newborns but terrible to see.

I would forget to burp him after nursing, and he would cry. I was gently reminded.

Childbirth had been painful and terrifying and I was on a regular regime and Ibuprofen, Extra Strength Tylenol and stool softeners. My husband helped me keep track of what I should be taking and when. Mom pushed the water. "You have to drink a lot of fluids while you're breastfeeding." Who knew?

My sister and her six month old son showed up, brimming with smiles. With her example, I was reminded that babies aren't merely for putting down and lulling to sleep. They're for nurturing.

Every cry would bring me running. Conscious that I was doing it and trying to restrain myself, I would hover while others held him.

His wheezing was enough to stop my heart.

It's a wonder he ever slept as much as I peeked in on him. One night he slept longer than usual. I woke up, seized with fear and prayed that God would give me grace for whatever I found when I walked the foot and a half to his cradle to check on him. I resorted to waking him up and bringing him to bed with me!

I know that long-time mothers will relate to some of these stories and maybe chuckle. It's that knowledge that makes me feel so young and insecure in a way I don't recall feeling much before. The surprise is, always the self-confident woman, I'm not ashamed of my lack of surety. I am doing what so many have done before me; feeling my way through parenthood, half-blind but always seeing.

Except I feel like a kid while I'm doing it.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Our Parents Were Right

I do understand now. Oh, do I.

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