Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Parenting is fascinating

Parenting is fascinating. Keep in mind that this is coming from the type of person that wasn't passionate either way about kids. Growing up I didn't think to myself, "I must be a mother." I also didn't think to myself, "No kids for me." I was kind of eh about the whole thing. I would say that I'm "eh" about too many aspects of my life, but that's a different problem.

My ambivalence toward the concept of having children mutated once I had one, and I firmly became "heck no to more kids" after my daughter was born. She was a miserable baby, and I absolutely detested staying home with her all day. She screamed 80% of the time, and the other 20% of the time she looked at the world (and me) with scorn. She didn't eat. She didn't sleep. I had never sucked so much at anything in my life, which was extremely demoralizing. There was no way I wanted a repeat, and frankly I don't need to see my genetics. If I do desire another kid for some crazy reason, I could always be a foster parent or adopt. My husband was equally traumatized by my daughter, and we are both in alignment on the whole issue.

I'd say by the age of 2, my daughter started to adjust to the world. Now she's 6, and for the most part she's delightful. But the trauma of her being 2 hours old to 2 years old was so severe that 4 years of delight do not make up for the 2 years of agony.

What has surprised me the most is that after how much I struggled those first two years, things have been smooth sailing since we got over that purely awful hump. Part of that is likely that she is a decent kid. She's not the type of kid that routinely makes stupid decisions. No, she's the kid who will watch several people do the stupid thing, and make the decision for herself if she will do it or not--most likely, she won't do it. She doesn't succumb to peer pressure. Maybe she's still too young, or maybe she lives in her own little world too much. It's hard to say.

As I've mentioned before, I wasn't coddled as a kid. Part of it is that I grew up just before the group of kids who all got trophies for showing up. Back in my school days, only a few trophies were given out, and you had to earn them. Another part of it is that my mom was not a coddler, and she made me figure things out on my own. My main goal was getting out of the house as quickly as possible, so it all hinged on having employable job skills and a good education. Probably from sixth grade on I was focused on my home exit strategy. Why was that my main goal? "It's complicated", like that vague, intriguing Facebook relationship status.

I realize that I need to coddle my daughter a little more than I was. For one, society has changed, and things my mom could get away with when parenting me (e.g.,  leaving me home alone at the age of eight, having me walk home almost two miles from school, etc.) simply will not fly anymore. For another, some of the things my mom did/didn't do just weren't right. BUT she did instill in me a resourcefulness and a work ethic that are reasonably high, and I want my daughter to have those attributes.

Back to my thesis: Parenting is fascinating.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


I don't have any tattoos. Particularly in the summer, I feel like I'm in a tiny minority of people who don't have any tattoos.

Why don't I have tattoos?

75% attributed to there's nothing I care to put on my body permanently. Tattooing names on me seems akin to branding myself. Phrases? If I put them on myself, I'd have to contort my myself to read them. I don't have anything to say to others for them to read off my body. Let's not forget the time I was on jury duty that I read a tattoo phrase that used the wrong word, and then I wondered how many people had pointed that out to him. And pictures of roses, moons, suns, etc.--I really don't understand the purpose of these types of tattoos at all.

25% attributed to me thinking it would be tacky for me to do.  For me to get to non-tacky, in my opinion, I'd have to do a good amount or they have to be really good. It becomes not just a tattoo, but more like body art. And that brings me back to the other 75%.

I know a mixed bag of those with tattoos and those who are not tattooed. I don't judge the tattooed, but I am intrigued about the story behind each tattoo and why they got each.

The pain isn't really a deterrent to me. I'm kind of a masochist with certain pain, and I think I'd cope just fine...although if it got infected, that's where I would get queasy.

I suppose we all have different ways to express ourselves. If something notable happened to me, I'd be far more likely to blog about it or take pictures (despite my lack of posting pictures on here, I actually take a lot of pictures) than want to tattoo my body. Far be it from me to judge other people's ways of expressing themselves. For me tattoos would be near the bottom of the list of ways I'd express myself.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

On to 2015

I definitely didn't blog as much in 2014. 2014 seemed more energy-draining than most of the past years, with the exception of 2008 (the year my daughter was born).

There really wasn't a theme for the year--mostly it was to get by, which is kind of sad.

All in all, it was a good year. Here's the "good" summary:

  • Paid off the mortgage. We are completely debt free. We had paid off the old house in 2004. We bought this house at the end of 2009. Pretty good to pay it off in less than 5 years.
  • Went on our first vacation that wasn't to see family or with family (neither count as "vacation" in my books). We took a cruise to Alaska. I'm not sure I'd do a cruise again, but it was a mostly good experience.
  • Skydived for the first time. This was on my mental bucket list. It was more dizzying than one might think. I was getting over bronchitis when I went, so I was having ear issues. Stuffy ears and sinuses probably lessened the experience. I made it through okay, but I just wanted to sleep afterward. My tip for you if you do skydive is to make sure you're at 100% health. It was cool to surrender yourself to the earth and hope you make it back down okay.  Quite thrilling!
Here's the "other" summary. Not necessarily bad, but more the life lessons from the year:

  • I was assigned a different job for two months. Basically, they were desperate and needed someone to volunteer to do it. I absolutely hated it, but I'm glad I did it. My regular job is full of deadlines and projects I need to do. I love having a list and checking things off. Jobs with very broad goals without distinct targets are not my thing. But it's good to know what isn't my thing, and it's good to force myself out of my comfort zone (even if it is to realize how much I like my normal job).
  • Along those same lines, I was on a Board of Directors for a non-profit this year. I could not stand it. Basically, they want people to rubber stamp the things they come up with and people to network and to give large amounts of money. You don't really DO anything; you talk about OTHER people doing stuff, which is tedious and a waste of time. So I suppose my life learning is that I like to DO things. I hate wasting my time by spending so much time on process and so little time on doing things.
  • For six months, I served the homeless meals. Well, actually I didn't do the actual cooking or serving, but I checked the homeless in and did the demographic statistics on everyone. But I was a cog in that machine. I really enjoyed it, and it was such a humbling experience. My daughter's activities started interfering with the Thursday volunteering, so I had to temporarily stop. But I want to get back doing it. I find it so much more valuable than the Board of Directors.