Archive | December, 2010

Meat Lust & Masculinity

30 Dec

WARNING: I unleashed my potty-mouth BIG TIME in this one.

Ironic vintage pic from the vegan days...seemed appropriate

There is a new YouTube channel subscription in our house. It’s called Epic Meal Time. There is NO WAY I can possibly use mere words to convey my complete and utter disgust of this gimmick. But so help me God, I am going to try. There are several things that my little pea brain just cannot comprehend about this crap.

1. What is it about meat lust propaganda that is so funny/entertaining/cool/masculine?

2. Why aren’t guys bored with this type of gimmick yet? I sure the fuck am.

3. Why don’t guys see the hypocrisy of glorifying female meat lust gluttony whilst using healthy, attractive girls in their videos…not to mention the critical evaluations of women’s appearance that the typical meat lust dumbass loves to spew.

4. I swear on my life that this has absolutely nothing to do with my being vegan for a year. Though that experience opened my eyes to how defensive people can be about their eating habits. I am not anti-meat and I never was and if you were one of my good friends during that time or ever read my “The Why’s of My Veganism” you should know that. And once you read that you will think I’m the biggest hypocrite on the planet…which is largely true at this point. I’m pulling the pregnancy card.

OK. Let’s start at the beginning. I seriously don’t understand what is cool about this. I mean, is it because it’s like a backlash aimed at all the super-diet-obsessed hotties out there? I find diet/food obsession annoying too, but this just makes me want to smash that dude’s cross-eyed face. Is it the sexual innuendo? Is it the calorie counter? Is it his super-dramatic reality-TV voice? Before I get too far into my rant, I KNOW this is meant as entertainment. I KNOW it’s not really for being taken seriously. I DON’T KNOW why it makes me so stabby. But that’s what we’re here to find out.

OK second up is that I find this gimmick so tired. I am so sick of the bacon lust, meat lust crap. What do you guys think it says about you when you join in this kind of jokery? OK, so maybe that’s not a word…but you know what I mean. I’ll tell you what it says to me. It says that you resent diet obsession (even though you probably also vocalize your disgust of “fat chicks in bikinis,” muffin tops, and other body flaws, which is the very thing that drives some people to diet obsession in the first place.) It says (to me) that on some level you are insecure about your masculinity or how other’s perceive your masculinity. It makes me wonder if that insecurity is about the size of your penis. Or maybe it’s the size of your man-boobs that you’re insecure about. OK, that was a low blow. That was for all of you dickheads that have called a woman flat-chested or laughed at a woman being called flat-chested. Wow, where is all of this fury coming from?  Anyway…back to the point. I feel like this meat-lust crap is getting so old. I need something new, something fresh and something ACTUALLY FUNNY. I am bored with all of your “I love bacon” and “Everything is better with bacon” t-shirts. Lame. Overdone. How is it that all of you guys that eat this shit up (hahaha. ha.) are still finding this funny? Die meme, die. Please.

OK, on to #3. I think I get why you like the whole girls aspect of this lame, overdone crap. You are sick of dealing with girls who pick at salad, complain about fat grams or fat thighs or whatever and order their dressing on the side and spit (props to Jen Clanton for that theory-love it) Let me let you in on a little secret, SO AM I. I am also sick of people (usually attractive people) constantly blathering about going to the gym, what they ate for breakfast/lunch/dinner and how fat they think they are. When I run into that crap I think to myself GET A NEW HOBBY for the love of God! It’s like they have no room for intelligent thought in their heads. But WHY is it that I don’t feel compelled to watch and laugh at a comedic meat lust backlash? I guess maybe I find it a little bit fatuous. Booyah!

And finally I promise this has nothing to do with my former veganism. First of all, I am currently on the SAD. I’ve revised my reasons for my current dietary lifestyle and yes they are very hypocritical compared to my little vegan manifesto. Maybe I’ll expound on that here someday. Honestly I think it has more to do with my lack of a sense of humor. Feel sorry for James. Very sorry. Poor guy has had to suffer my seriousness for like, going on 13+ years now. Any shred of humor that I possess, is thanks to his undying attempts at making me laugh or catching me with a practical joke. I blame my parents.

In the end, I think what infuriates me the most is what I perceive to be a lack of intelligence in these attempts at humor. I just don’t see anything clever there. It’s all been done, it’s all so predictable and yet people eat it up like it’s the best thing ever. That annoys the hell out of me. OK so that’s a bit snobby. Sorry. It is what it is. I want something clever. I want something new and fresh, not the same old crap dialed up to DEFCON 1.

Where my sense of humor comes from...also a pic from the vegan days...these pics are making me want to cut my hair again!!!!!!!

By the way…that shirt I’m wearing. Since you can’t see all of it…it reads: “Barbie’s Beauty Salon. We can’t make you smart…but at least you’ll look good.” Ha.

Insanity, The Beginning.

26 Dec

Well, yesterday we took the first shrinky dink pictures. I figured I’d give you some teasers and then I probably won’t post anything about it again for a long time. Or maybe I’ll post day-before-delivery and day-after-delivery shots, I don’t know. For now, I seriously have to figure out how to get the pictures to come out looking somewhat artistic. Let’s just say James is not into it. I’m contemplating changing the plan to a video project or something. I don’t know. Either way, I might need to involve a tripod of some kind. Currently the options are my gorillapod and iphone or our little old Canon p&s with the gorillapod.

OK so check this out. I am going to post 2 photos and I’m going to set them to show as thumbnails in this post. If you are my brother or someone who doesn’t want to see the carnage that pregnancy has wrought on my body. DON’T CLICK ON THEM. Just ignore this post because it’s going to pull up the full-size, gigantic versions in a new window where you can scrutinize every appalling detail.

Also. I decided to do 2 versions of the project. One is the bikini version and one is a topless version…because it would be a shame to deny the tragedy of what has happened and is happening to my poor, poor boobs. I haven’t decided if or how I will share the topless ones. Perhaps on The Shape of a Mother.

Final little disclaimer…we’re still learning how to use our camera. Neither of us knows anything about photography, so cut us some slack in that department please.

OK…well…here goes nothin’

Not Twins

Battle Scars

Merry Christmas

25 Dec

We’ve had a lovely, lovely morning! I was greeting by sunshine (since gone) when I went down to the kitchen and gorgeous globs of snow covering everything outside. There was even a little bit of sun-kissed, glittery dust still fluttering down from the sky. Sigh. Winter, you can be so divine sometimes.

We opened our presents and scarfed some Cinnamon Toast Crunch… in lieu of my hopes of making cinnamon rolls. Now it’s time to get ready for some family festivities and I sincerely wish there was time for a nap. There will be time for sleep later, right? Right, my fellow moms? ;)

Haha! Famous last words, right? Hopefully I didn’t just tempt the universe to start my labor this evening.

I hope all are having a lovely day today! Here’s a little bit of ours so far…

Getting ready to head out for Christmas Eve festivities...

"Dagny, laugh!"

Little people seems to have been a good idea...one of our craigslist gifts :)

The BIG ONE! Thank you so much, Gigi & G-Pop!

Slot car set for James

Any kind of ball is pretty much a guaranteed winner with Dags. More Splash Bombs, this time from Grammie...

As good as it gets when you hand off the camera to a technotsavvy relative ;)

As good as it gets when you're still learning to use your own DSLR ;)

Grand Plans

23 Dec

Boy have I got some exciting news!!! A week or so ago I asked a bunch of you for positive energy on Facebook…and guess what! It worked! We are now under contract to buy a lovely house that we are pretty excited about. I suppose I sort of owe an update on the decision-making process…even though I don’t really want to go into it. Oh well, here goes.

We went round and round about what part of town to live in. We really wanted to do the whole downtown-ish urban thing, and that’s what we’d been fantasizing about since long before we even got here. We both had eyes for Highland Park and I still think that is an awesome part of town. We also love Regent Square and Squirrel Hill. However…the fantasy just wasn’t panning out the way we’d hoped. For one thing, the homes that were updated enough for us to consider were at the very high-end of our chosen price range in Highland Park and we couldn’t really make anything work in Regent Square or Squirrel Hill without significant compromise. In fact, after looking at many homes downtown, and in the Forest Hills/Churchill/Blackridge area, we lowered our price range because we just weren’t “wowed” by anything. And you kind of want to be wowed at the top of your price range. So we decided that if we were going to settle, we might as well be settling at a much lower price. That decision pretty much removed the lingering Highland Park from our consideration altogether.

So we focused on Forest Hills, Churchill and Blackridge for a while and when I finally realized that downtown was no longer an option in James’s mind, I had to hit the brakes. This all happened right about the time I wrote that last update on our decision-making process. I realized we just weren’t going to be able to make it work downtown and have the sort of urban/pedestrian/pseudo-European lifestyle that I had been dreaming of. Too many factors were stacked against us. I also realized that our effort to compromise a little by considering areas just east of downtown was a little misguided. It was an effort to hold onto the downtown dream, but in reality there was absolutely nothing downtown about it. We wouldn’t have had any of the benefits of living downtown…in my mind things like being able to walk or bike to the city’s gorgeous parks, my favorite grocery stores, and the abundant cultural venues. Oh yeah, and I’m probably supposed to mention the sports venues as well now that I’m Burgh Verified, right? Anyway…we weren’t going to really have that living in Forest Hills or further east. At that moment…the moment I realized that…I knew that if we were really going to do what was best for ourselves, we were going to have to give New Ken & Lower Burrell a second chance. So we did.

We found that we were able to stay at the low to middle end of our newly lowered price range and find homes that had been updated enough to satisfy us. Several homes. We also admitted to ourselves how important and beneficial it was for us to be near some family. Still, neither of us was (or is) thrilled about the current economics of the area. We are very fortunate to be a telecommuting family. James is blessed with the same employment situation he had in Denver, except…he does it from home now. In fact, we are ALL blessed with that and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I give thanks every. single. day. for it. One big reason we avoided NK/LB was in case James ever ended up needed to commute into downtown. We finally realized we probably didn’t need to arrange our lives around a “maybe.” NK/LB does have a few things going for it that were important for me…they have one of the nicest Giant Eagles I’ve seen since we came here. They also have THE nicest Target I’ve seen since we came here. And incidentally the ONLY Target I’ve seen that has a Starbucks inside it. I’m sure they have one down in the Robinson area too but that’s just way in the opposite direction of everything we came here for. There’s also Pittsburgh Mills…not the most awesome mall, but it will do until 2.0 has the fortitude for occasional day trips to Zombieville…which is currently my favorite mall in the area. Waterworks isn’t too far away either, as long as Rte 28 hasn’t imploded. So. There is plenty of support for my raging consumerist tendencies. Which would be much abated if there was a reasonable secondhand/thrift market around here. If there is one, for the love of God help me find it!

So anyway…point being…we were able to overlook the pretty significant detractors and see some positives. I’ll probably avoid driving through downtown NK at all costs to avoid sinking into a depressive funk. We have also found a house that seemed almost made for us. Almost. It has a perfect space for James’s office on the main level. It has just enough bedrooms and the walkout basement has lots of potential to be finished to our liking. It’s on a double lot…so there’s yard space for kids to play and for adults to barbecue & booze. Have I mentioned how badly I want a margarita lately? Wait, where was I? It has a garage for at least one of our cars. It’s in Mt. Vernon…which I personally believe is one of the most kid-friendly areas in NK and also just a cool neighborhood in general. People decorate for the holidays. They have a neighborhood association that coordinates an annual garage sale, a Halloween parade, and various other community events. Sidewalks throughout the entire neighborhood. The house backs up to a beautiful swath of trees. And it looks like a modern house inside. It’s been totally redone. Walls have been removed to make for a more open floor plan. Everything is new. Everything is bright. So we’ve managed to get a contract on this house we like. In New Ken. Literally around the corner from Mia, Grandpa & Aunt Kelly. Also much closer to James’s Aunts & Uncles & cousins on his mom’s side. Pretty much the whole family lives up that way, save for some very important people in Florida. And that brings me to my next point…

I’ve talked about lifestyle before and how we have some crazy ideas for what we want our life to be like. We know that there’s a lot we’ll have to come to terms with. I mean, I know we just aren’t going to be jet-setting around the globe, showing the kids the seven wonders of the world if we don’t win the lottery or somehow come into some money a la Scrooge McDuck. Currently we aren’t even buying lottery tickets…so I’m not totally delusional. However. One very important aspect of our life plan is to someday reasonably “soon” buy a second property in Florida, up the street from those very important people I mentioned earlier…or maybe on the beach 5 minutes away. At the very least, we are committed to dividing our time between PA and FL as soon as we can achieve it. We’ve done a lot of calculating. We believe it’s reasonable that we could achieve that in less than a decade based on our choice to buy a house at the low-end of our chosen price range. So that is the grand plan. It’s always been the grand plan, although lots of other things float around in there and get a lot more press, not the least of which is annual ski trips for maintaining Momma’s sanity and the undying dream of travelling the world with our kids. We’re going to have to scrimp and save and do the Spartan thing for a few more years. Of course here and there we’ll treat ourselves to some niceties. I know we both want to move beyond the college furniture we currently have and treat ourselves to a few upgrades. I know we both want to have a legitimate space to host guests. But overall, the goal is set and the wheels are in motion. We’ve committed to several more years of pragmatism and frugality so that we can get our hands on some priceless intangibles a bit faster. We think the kids will appreciate it someday. And we hope all of you VIF’s (very important Floridians) understand it too.

James Scores Some Awesomeness Points

17 Dec

I’m just so tickled by this that I had to share it. We’re in the middle of trying to get our “new-to-us” car ready for winter. I’ve been hounding James to research what tires to get for like 2 weeks since we decided to go with 2 sets of tires (winter and summer.) Well guess what!? Today was the day. He got a half day since his company had their annual holiday party today. He spent that time researching and then, get this…buying the tires we need. Now…last time he went and bought tires they managed to sell him a set of rims too. For my 1995 Subaru Legacy. Um…if you don’t see the ridiculousness in that, I can’t help you. It was truly a sweet and endearing gesture because he was buying me some nicer rims for my boring old car. But it also made all the hair on the back of my neck stand up when he told me. In fact, I’m getting a little twitchy just remembering it. So this time, I seriously thought he would wait and consult me before we actually bought them. But no. He didn’t. He spent a few hours scouring the internet and when the internet (thankfully) made it impossible for him to buy brand new bottom of the line winter rims, he…wait for it…wait for it…looked on craigslist!!! And even more miraculously…FOUND some rims, some OEM rims for our Maxima. He saved us a couple hundo just by doing that!!! And then he saved us more money by buying the tires online and they will be shipped to the place that will be putting them on our new-to-us rims and then putting them on my…er, our car. I AM SO PROUD OF HIM. He even checked the internet for coupon codes before making the final purchase!!!

It just might be a Christmas miracle.

Project Shrinky Dink

16 Dec

OK, I think this is it. This is the post for today! I’ve been waffling all over the place. I haven’t been posting any extra posts during the week because I am exhausted. I’m ready for this baby. My range of motion is pretty limited some days and I’m at the point where I feel like an extra baby in the mix but getting my range of motion back would be better than trying to chase Dags around like this.

I’m going to tell you about this wacko idea for a project I have. Could it be considered an “art” project? I like to think so, but my engineer side is more excited just to show people some behind the scenes pregnancy schtuff. I only wish I had thought of this sooner so I could have a more comprehensive end product. OK OK…no more cryptic references…I just start babbling and…anyway.

My plan is to start (soon) taking hi-resolution full-body pictures every day from several angles. The idea is to show people how my body goes from being super-duper pregnant to “normal” and to chronicle all of the things I do along the way to help or hinder that process. Did I mention I want to do it nearly naked? Yeah. I know. CRAZY LADY IN THE HOUSE. I’d love to feel comfortable enough to do it totally naked but honestly I’m not. I am comfortable enough to do it in a bikini though. So I plan to take all these pictures in the same bikini…it’s turquoise and it’s probably too small right now, so, joy. Anyway, I think it would be so cool to be able to see how insanely a woman’s body changes through pregnancy and post-partum.

I also have pictures from my 2nd & 3rd trimester that I plan to turn into a time-lapsed film as a separate project. I took those about 3 times a week and each time I took 4 pictures in 4 different positions. I also have my weekly pictures from my first pregnancy. Hopefully I can somehow combine all of this into an interesting video someday. Maybe it will help lower teen pregnancy rates, I don’t know. Maybe it will help other moms feel comfortable with their “battle scars.” Maybe it will make some moms want to punch me. Whatever, I’m cool with that, but as T.I. says, “A [momma] put ['er] hands on me, alright. Otherwise stand there and talk shit all night.” Whoa, where did that come from?!

So yeah…crazy project idea. One of my reasons for starting this blog was to force some accountability on myself for all the crazy schemes I say I’m gonna do. Hopefully making it public like this will create a better product because I know y’all will be waiting to see what comes of it. I expect (hope, desperately hope) that I will be able to finish it by the end of the summer. Some teaser pics…

 

21 Weeks Pregnant With 2.0

21 Weeks Pregnant with Dagny

Wowsers. Could the difference in my attitude be more profound?! Clearly I am over it this time around. Last time I was all excited…and naive. I put makeup on for every belly pic because I was uploading them for all the family to see since we were out in Denver with no family nearby. And because it was my first pregnancy and it was fascinating. Nowadays, I’m like…how much worse can these stretch marks get in 3 weeks? As mentioned before I’m also a lot more tired here at the end this time around. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m not sleeping as well or something. Although…begin side note…James has been telling me about how I’m snoring like crazy lately. So far I haven’t woken him out of a deep sleep but he finds it hilarious. I was like, “No way, record it on your phone next time.” So he did. He played it for me yesterday while we were all eating lunch. I was like, “What is that?” to which he chuckled, “That’s you snoring this morning.” Wowsers. I hope it’s just a pregnancy thing but both my parents are champion snorers so I’m more than a little concerned. ANYWAY…I took one single set of exposed belly shots this time around specifically to compare to last time and try to see if I really am bigger like I think I am. It’s hard to say from these photos. And it doesn’t help that I look like the living dead in one and all perky and annoying in the other one.

30 Weeks Pregnant with 2.0...Son of a coconut, I look miserable!

31 Weeks Pregnant with Dagny

I think it’s safe to say I’ll be wearing makeup from now on for Project Shrinky Dink.

Quick Update

9 Dec

Well, G-mum is in town and sleeping in the room with the computer I normally type my blog posts on. I’m typing this on my phone so it’s gonna be short. And pictureless.

Tonight I read something that put my blessings into perspective. I have been feeling pretty sorry for myself with the aches and pains of late. It’s easy to forget that some people would give anything to have them. I try not to publicly complain for that very reason, plus nobody likes a habitual whiner. I’m going to try harder.

4.5 weeks until my due date and we’ve finally narrowed the names down to 2 choices, Bode (like the skier) and Jasper (like the vampire.) It’s sad but it’s true…I never would have considered that name before the ridiculousness that is Twilight. Most likely Phoenix for a middle name.

I am now on weekly visits and I’ll be full term next Saturday, the 18th. Due date is Jan 8th still. On Monday the doctor had the audacity to tell me my stomach was “on the small side.” He wasn’t my regular dude, but I’m trying to meet them all before the big day. He estimated baby bro will be between 7-8lbs when he comes out.

Ok I’m sick of typing on the phone…I’ll have some better stuff in the coming days. Meanwhile I uploaded a couple vids to YouTube…check it out: http://YouTube.com/virtualcarly.

Charitable Giving Devo

2 Dec

Well, tonight we finished off our Thanksgiving “leftovers” and Christmas is right around the corner. Thanks to the premature holiday zealotry that this part of the country seems so fond of, I’ve been thinking about Christmas since before Halloween. For many of us, this time of year really brings into sharp focus how very fortunate we are. It’s a time during which we think of the many, many people out there, perhaps right around the corner, who are struggling and suffering. I haven’t always been in tune with this aspect of the season, and I just wanted to talk a bit about the devolution and evolution of my perspective on charitable giving.

I’ll start off by saying I used to be a self-proclaimed “non-believer” in charity and charitable giving. That particular perspective endured throughout my twenties, and prior to that I was more or less oblivious to charitable endeavors beyond the scope of the annual canned food drives my various schools held growing up. It developed out of a close identification with the novel Atlas Shrugged, and anyone familiar with Ayn Rand and her rationalism philosophy knows that she “[didn't] believe in charity.” Now, I’m not sure that’s completely true (her foundation offers a scholarship) but I latched onto that idea and ran with it. Over the years I questioned it, but ultimately used it as an excuse not to think about my duty (if such a thing exists) to my fellow man. I’ve always known deep down that I was denying and avoiding a truth that my heart could not completely abandon.

The truth is, I do care about people and I do empathize with their suffering. I know it sounds ridiculous and cliche, but I believe I have an especially strong ability to empathize with the suffering and struggles of others when I allow myself to be aware of them. What I mean by that is, I find it effortless to immerse myself in tragic stories of virtually any kind. Because of that, I intentionally do not read or watch the news. I avoid books from Oprah’s book club. I avoid films that I know to be tragic…in fact, I avoid most films that aren’t kids’, action, or comedy. All of those things usually turn me into a blubbering mess at the drop of a hat, and furthermore I usually go into a depressed funk for periods of time ranging from a few days to several weeks. I’ve been ridiculed for being oversensitive and for overreacting, and over the years I’ve created some very effective ways of coping with that, such as blocking my emotional response, the aforementioned avoidance, and the aforementioned “philosophy” that I adopted. Then something happened that changed everything. I became a mom. And honestly, I was primed for paradigm shift thanks to my former coworker Pete, who had been heavily involved in charitable work and who tirelessly debated the value of charity with me on those slow days at work. Furthermore, I was turned on to a couple of bloggers by my Aunt-In-Law Robin that earned my respect early on, and with serendipitous timing after I became a parent, opened my eyes to what one person can accomplish and just how easy it is to touch a less fortunate stranger’s life in a positive way. Those bloggers are Virginia of That’s Church and Michelle of The Burgh Baby. Of course, both of these women have touched MANY lives.  From helping save orphans in Haiti, to a project to improve the lives of sick children in the hospital, to the most awesome Christmas fundraiser & toy drive, they’ve really lit the fire of accountability in me in the past year or so since I was made aware of their blogs.

It’s funny how (for me at least) the arrival of my child was also the arrival of my greatest love in all of existence. I can never overstate this love for my child. People talk about God’s love and their love of God. That’s how I feel about my daughter…and soon how I will feel about my son too. Whatever evidence of the divine exists, I see it embodied in her and I felt it in her coming into existence.  Feeling like that about someone who is just learning about the world really throws one’s beliefs into perspective. I want my daughter to empathize with her fellow man. I want her to nurture kindness in her heart, a heart that isn’t bent on material possessions, or any kind of possessiveness, for that matter.

*Tangent: when I say fellow man I mean women too, it’s just easier and less awkward to keep the language simple and sexist. Kidding! You know what I mean though, right?*

Anyway! I have become hyper-aware of the fact that I am now the primary role model for the most important person in the (my) world. I was especially aware tonight at dinner when I said “shit” in casual conversation with James and off to my right I heard the soft, sweet echo “sit” coming from the innocent lips of my daughter. Oopsie. But where was I…being a role model.

Last Christmas, my first Christmas as a momma, James and I decided to approach the business of gift-giving in a whole new way. We started what we hope will be a tradition in our family. We drastically cut back our gift-giving budget and made a large (for us) contribution to a charitable organization instead. We gave  a lot less than we usually do to our friends and family so that we could sponsor a cleft palate surgery through Smile Train.  We also learned about an organization called Heifer International, and we’ve tried to incorporate periodic donations to them at times in lieu of gifts. Both of these organizations have great programs, in my opinion, and if you’re looking to improve lives, I think they have great potential to satisfy in that regard. We felt great about our decision and we got lots of good feedback from our family and friends. We hope this tradition will help instill a sense philanthropy in our children, and over the years I would love to incorporate more philanthropy into our lives by offering not just money but our time and talents for the benefit of those less fortunate. Parents magazine ran a great article on their website suggesting ways to give this holiday season as part of their nifty feature/newsletter “100 Days of Holidays.” I think soup kitchens are on everyone’s radar around Thanksgiving time, but there were a couple of other ideas that I tend to forget about unless reminded.

As part of all this remodeling of our Christmas habits, we discussed paring down the amount of gifts and setting a precedent early on for the level of consumerism we would indulge in every year for the kids. Finally I get to the original reason for this post. Things have fallen apart for me this year. I mean, they sort of have. I fully intend to maintain our new tradition of charitable giving because I love Smile Train and I love that we can afford to give something so complete, so life-changing, and so meaningful as a cleft palate surgery to a poverty-stricken child. We will again scale back our gift-giving budget for family and friends…except that I’m having a reeeeeally hard time scaling back what I want to get for Dagny. The only thing we have really splurged on is her winter clothes. And honestly, she had no season-appropriate clothes that fit her. So I don’t think that really counts. I guess I haven’t really unleashed my raging consumerist tendencies much since she was born. We’ve bought a lot of things secondhand and many things I intend as “Christmas gifts” for her this year were purchased via craigslist or at various thrift stores. However. There is a rather long list of items that just don’t pop up on craigslist or in thrift stores often enough that I want to give her. We are talking about a serious breakdown of my last year’s notion to gift each child with one moderately priced item  from each parent, along with a few stocking stuffers,  and an annual ornament…to the tune of several hundred dollars worth of stuff I have my eye on. Yeah. Wince.

I don’t know what happened. Ok. I do sort of know what happened. Last year it was easy to  say, “oh yeah, we’ll just get them one or two toys” because Dagny wasn’t even sitting up at the time. Her interests and personality were as yet, unrevealed.

Last Christmas

This year, on the other hand, she is at a stage of development that I can only describe as a nuclear explosion of personality, communication, and physical abilities. Combine that with the fact that we haven’t really bought any toys for her since before she turned 1, due to the big move from Denver to Pittsburgh. So, developmentally she is pretty much beyond all of her toys. And as I’ve realized of late, that is a recipe for a very curious toddler. She is into EVERYTHING, most especially the kitchen cabinets and drawers…EVEN THOUGH they are childproofed. There are also the beeps and lights that she can manipulate on the oven and dishwasher. Precarious furnishings that she takes pleasure in climbing on. And I should take her outside more often*, but I won’t lie, this pregnancy is a great excuse…and in my opinion a valid excuse…not to subject myself to chasing Dagny around the yard, making sure she isn’t trying to sample a nugget of deer poop or eat an acorn or a rock or run out into the street.  Especially at this late stage of the game, and now that it’s pretty chilly outside. There’s also the fact that if we don’t manage to get some outside time in during the golden window of time between breakfast and lunch that I use for running errands, it’s darn near dark as night by the time she wakes up from her nap. So she’s bored. I know this. I’ve found a couple things to help, like the Thursday library thing we go to. OK, one thing. I’d love to get involved with some swimming stuff, especially because being in a pool is mighty relieving for a woman of my size and level of gestation. Also because Dagny has taken to “swimming” in the bathtub. She actually calls it swimming. She lays down on her tummy and plays with her toys, it’s really pretty adorable. So yeah, all of this is sounding like a great excuse for me to go balls-to-the-wall crazy with her Christmas presents. I mean, everything is on sale! Everyone else is doing it! The sheer number of just the secondhand “presents” is pretty high. And I haven’t even really started with the new stuff. Sigh. I totally didn’t see this coming. I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be not to give her anything she wants along with everything she needs. And believe me, the word needs can become pretty subjective in this world of “Your Baby Can Read” and “my 14 month old can do calculus and is fluent in 6 languages.” So, that is my latest first world dilemma. I am losing this battle with myself, big time. And it doesn’t help that baby bro is coming very soon and Dagny really does need some stuff that engages her (for both our sakes) and doesn’t involve sitting in her beanbag drooling at the TV. At least she’s learning ASL during all that drooling time though. Problem is, I think now she knows more signs than I do.

Finally something NEW to explore!

*I’ll tell you how I know. Because every time we leave the confines of the house she says, bobbing up and down, with a huge grin and wide eyes, “ruh ruh rou” (ou as in ouch and loud and about.) Translation: “run around.” She says it when I tried to put her in the car, when we take out the trash. She says it in the highchair when we’re out to eat. She says it in the cart when we go grocery shopping every week. She wants me to let her run around and I feel terrible because I barely ever do.

At least her Daddy takes her outside to ruh ruh rou on the weekends...

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