Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Daddy is a princex.

I'm not scared of many things.  Snakes? love em. Spiders? Adorable. Orcs? Elendil himself could not be less afraid than I. But ever since I found out I was having a daughter, I've been living in terror of Princess Culture.*

*for more information on exactly what to fear, go out and buy the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter immediately!

I was raised with a pretty bad-assed woman for a role-model.  My mom is a black belt, a doctor, and is not afraid to straight up slaughter copperheads with a machete while wearing a lacy nightgown.* She literally gives no shits about what men think of her. That means me and my sisters learned to do all sorts of hard core things growing up.  She taught us to build campfires fires in the rain, to saw our own lumber and to build our own goddamn tree-houses.  Did we talk about princesses?  Sure.  She quickly confirmed that we were all three unique and special princesses, each of whom possessed *magical powers* which enabled us to beat boys at things like math tests, arm wrestling contests, et all. My mom is awesome.

*This may be a bit of an exaggeration.  I cannot guarantee she was wearing a nightgown.

Anyways,  I really want my daughter to have strong role models too.  When she reads books, I want her heroines to do more than just marry a handsome prince.  I want them to have guts, I want them to be kind, and I want them to be smart, empowered, and earn just as much in pay as their male co-workers do. Basically, I want my daughter to admire more than a poofy dress with giant shoulder pads.

So, while not being too extreme, I've tried to carefully avoid princess culture.  If someone else refers to her as a "little princess," I don't make a big deal of it, but I never call her that myself.  When I play with her, I try to say to her "you're so funny," "you're so smart," and "you're so kind," as well as "you're so beautiful." 

That's why I was very surprised the other day, when Millie was in her bath-tub and she pointed straight down to her new washcloth and told me informatively, "That's a Princex."

What?  I looked down hurriedly.  She was right! The puffy sleeves were a dead give-away.  The washcloth was a trick! It was the kind that comes up crinkled up into a tiny shape, and explodes when you put it in the water and turns into something awesome like a dinosaur, or ...DRAT... a princess.

The Princex
Trying to make the best of the situation, I encouraged her to think critically about the Princess.  "How do you know she's a Princess?" I asked her. "I don't see a crown." I added desperately, "I think it's just some blonde lady."

She looked up at me with pity. "That's a princex." She said firmly. And then, to my horror she added, "I'm a Princex." My heart froze.  No! Not my baby! She's too young. She's TOOO YOUNG!

But then she continued. "Mommy is a Princex." She paused carefully, and added... "Daddy is a Princex too!"

At that moment, a ray of warm light blew across the bathroom, and cast upon my poor, soapy brow. My Daddy is a Princex. YES. She's not succumbing to the premature over-sexualization of her body! She's not fast tracked to a life of romantic-conquest-based self esteem, and unrealistic beauty standards! She's just a baby, playing in a tub, and she's trying to learn about the word Princess.

One day, I'll have to battle these societal pressures, but I'm grateful today isn't that day.  For now, I just fill my cup and rinse her hair, (I can't help but notice, with a sense of foreboding,  that her hair really does look like newly spun gold) But for now, I give her a smile. "Of course," I tell her reassuringly. "Of course your Daddy is a Princex."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day, 2015

Don't get me wrong.  I love Mother's day.  This year, Sean bought me 200 feet of soaker hose and helped me build an irrigation system for my vegetable garden! I'm all for any holiday that celebrates my awesomeness, and almost guarantees that I can go to the lawn-&-garden store and buy irresponsible amounts of shade perennials, but still--- the whole idea of celebrating all mothers on a single day seems fishy to me.

I think the traditions of mother's day-- the brunches, the flowers, the truck-loads of horse manure* ** ***--- should take place on the birthdays of that mother's children.  After all, she was the one who endured hours and hours of horrific pain in order to bring them into this world, and then, once her prenatal yoga class was over, she had to have childbirth! Shouldn't we celebrate mother's day on that child's birthday?

* I have a weird family ok.
** Yes, that is a real mother's day present my mother received from my father one year.
*** she loved it.

But instead, we live in a messed up world where, rather than relaxing on the anniversary of their child's birth and perhaps enjoying celebratory cocktail for keeping that child live for another year,  mothers have to spend that day experimenting with unnatural color's of frosting for their toddler's birthday cake.  It seems unfair, right?

That's why next February, I will insist that we celebrate mother's day early.  On Millie's birthday, I will enjoy 8 hours of relaxing-while-reading-heirloom-seed-catalogs, in order symbolize the 8 hours of time I was in labor with her. Then, I'll go to a prenatal yoga class and shout encouragement at all the expectant mothers. "Don't worry!" I'll lie,"Those will go back to normal!" and, uproariously-- "It's going to be hard work, but the pain is manageable!" Finally, we'll wind up the day with a little party in which all Millie's friends can all bring her shade perennials in lieu of traditional presents. I have a feeling they are really going to like the outdoor activity---a rousing game of "Spread the horse manure on Millie's Mommy's Garden!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I'm a secret pregnant lady.

March, 2015

 I'm pregnant.

(I KNOW!!!)  I'm so excited.  Sean is excited too-- mostly because my boobs are going to get crazy big, but also because of propagating our bloodlines, the joys of parenthood, blah blah, blah- blah....

Now SHHH.  It's a secret.  I'm a secret pregnant lady. You can't tell anyone.

It always really confuses me when I think about the taboos of announcing pregnancies in our society. For those of you out of the loop, when a woman like me gets pregnant, there is a 15% chance that I will loose the baby (have a miscarriage) in the first three months.  For this reason, many expectant parents wait until after this period to tell friends, family, and employers about their future little snot-rocket.  Now here's where the irony comes in, the first three months are when women are in the need of most sympathy.

Here are some actual symptoms, which pregnant ladies like me experience in our first trimester. I am not making these up.

Feeling like you are going to vomit because you have an empty stomach
Felling like you are going to vomit because you have a full stomach
Feeling like you are going to vomit because you smell axe body spray
Feeling like you are going to vomit because you smell cabbage
Feeling mad at your partner because they don't constantly nearly vomit
Extreme Exhaustion
Emotional mood swings
Dissatisfaction with your throw pillows
Knockers that make you look like Jessica-Rabbit
Inability to go jogging because of your Jessica-Rabbit knockers
Feeling guilty about not jogging
Inability to drink wine with your girlfriends
Inability to be honest with your girlfriends about why you won't drink wine with them.
Inability to convince your neighbor, Bill, that you stopped drinking wine because you are going on a cleanse.

Now, from looking at this list, you can see how much I am in need of pity and understanding-- especially at work, but alas, I can't tell anyone about what I'm going through, and instead am forced to let them believe that instead, I am randomly recalling an errand which requires me to leave the building each time they are reheating leftover cabbage!

Now, I'm not going to get into the complexities of why women like me choose to keep their pregnancies secret.  If you've ever made or received a phone call about the loss of a child, you have reason enough for silence, and if you're a woman who cares about her career, you know your pregnancy could affect your professional goals.

What I AM going to request, is a little consideration from all you bystanders out there.  Next time you are at the office or at a public event, have a little consideration for the secret pregnant ladies out there.

Ask yourself these questions:

Is someone who I KNOW to be fond of wine, suddenly going on a "cleanse?"
Is there a person who is clearly struggling not to vomit when sitting in a staff meeting about data reporting?
Is there a person who is physically recoiling in the presence of Axe body spray?*
Is there a person who, though normally slight of frame, is beginning to resemble Dolly Parton in a Wonderbra?
*may not indicate pregnancy, could just be any adult.

You may have a secretly pregnant lady in your midst.  In order to be inclusive, I would immediately enact these policies, which will enable your friend/college to cloak her pregnancy until the appropriate time.
  1. office wide ban on all cabbage-related leftovers
  2. staff happy-hours should only be at establishments with sympathetic bartenders who are willing to serve "mocktails."
  3. All-office nap time is preferred. 
  4.  No one talks to Bill.
  5. All lunch-time jogging initiatives should be ceased immediately. 
There.  Now you are prepared to support and nurture the secret pregnant lady in your midst. I congratulate you on your support and inclusivity.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I just recalled an errand which requires me to leave the building and is in no way related to your leftover enchiladas.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The key to toddler birthday parties? Food coloring.

 I recently threw a birthday party for our beloved two-year old, Millie.  Millie is now two, which means she is a BIG GIRL, and has therefore grown weary of her diapers (which are for babies),  and in no way contain images of Elmo.  It also means that she was old enough to know about *birthday parties,* and specifically that at birthday parties, she and all her friends would be allowed to eat cake.

I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure that a toddler's social status is directly correlated to the frosting intake at her birthday party, and certainly to the unnaturalness of her frosting colors. So, if a grown-up looks at a your child's birthday cake and thinks "there is no way this frosting color originated anywhere but in a beaker of toxic chemicals, " chances are you've just helped grow your child's social capital.

No taking any chances, I decided to make Millie these  birthday cupcakes:

I was going with the theme "googly eyes," which are-- in my daughter's estimation--- the finest representation of high art. These are probably more gelatin and food-dye than flour, but they looked majestic, and my daughter actually peed her pants when she saw them. 

If you are a parent wanting to recreate these, the components are simple. Just use oreos for the eyes, mini-chocolate chips for the nose, and chocolate cupcakes with dyed homemade buttercream frosting for the "frog body".  I used the neon colors of food dye to get that perfect "color that exists nowhere in nature" look. I mixed that in with the frosting and iced the cupcakes in a very inexpert fashion.

When Millie saw the cupcakes, I knew she felt like her party was something special. My only fear is that she'll be pooping food dye this week. This could present a problem, because she's really been enjoying the new, BIG GIRL, Elmo underwear we bought her for her birthday.