Sunday, February 20, 2011

All this controversy over...eating?

Earlier this week, I got fascinated in a not-so-good way with the comments on this blog post about kids in restaurants. I actually hadn't taken Emmett to a restaurant since Christmas break (when we had family in town who wanted to visit some favorite local eateries) and the indignant responses of people who thought kids should only be in restaurants with a kids' menu made me really want to eat in restaurants more, in a "So there!" kind of way. I certainly have been wary of being That Parent With The Screaming Child, and most nights, I'd still just prefer to eat takeout at home than go out to eat--it's just easier. But somehow the idea that I should stay out of restaurants because I have my kid with me? Lame. Most of the times we've had Emmett with us, it's seemed like the restaurants needed our business more than they needed a kid-free environment. I'll be kind of ticked off if I avoid going places I really like during my kid's unpredictable years and then find that these places become more casualties of the crap economy.

Then there's the objection by certain members of a political movement that making breast pumps a deductible expense is making the US into a nanny state. I so don't get it. What I like about this potential deduction is that I remember spending lots of time at Babies R Us and Target trying to figure out if it was worth it to spend extra money on one of the nicer pumps (you know, the kind that actually work?). Anyone who has pumped for more than five minutes will attest that the better pumps are pretty worth it. If I'd gone into that situation knowing that certain expenses were deductible, the decisions would be easier to decide to buy a better pump at the outset.

For some reason, I thought that once I introduced Emmett to solid food, I'd be able to take some pressure off myself about All of That Pumping, but now I realize that I still am doing as much pumping as ever. I also now have a vague sense of...guilt? inadequacy? about the fact that No, I am not making all of Emmett's solid food by hand. We barely manage to feed ourselves most weeknights, so adding in the time to cook and pulverize fresh organic fruits and vegetables for the boy is just not likely to happen any time soon. When his diet is varied enough that he really can eat what we eat, perhaps it'll be easier to just mush some of the current meal up for him, but for can do.

The first time that I fed him sweet potatoes was right around the same time that he learned to make "raspberries" with his mouth, and I was concerned that the entire kitchen would soon resemble a painting by Jackson Pollock. Luckily, he's gotten better about getting the actual food into his mouth.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Only Wanting To Mommy The Actual Baby

Wow, it looks like I just used "mommy" as a verb. Does that mean that I need some sort of intervention?

I am scheduled to go to a work-related leadership training event at the end of March. I had some reluctance to go at first, since it means two nights away from home and I tend to miss Emmett whenever he's not physically attached to me. At the same time, I've been waiting something like ten years for a chance to do some actual training of this sort, so I'm going. I feel like I've just muddled through management up until now, just trying to avoid really noticeable mistakes. That actually sounds a lot like parenting, but there's probably more available in the way of advice out there about being a parent (not that it's all good advice). I know, bookstores have whole sections devoted to leadership crap, but a leadership in education is its own complicated area.

Lately I feel conflicted about some of the roles available as a woman in leadership at work. As I see it, there are a couple of easy paths to take. One path is to just be a total bitch, and the appealing part is that it's probably pretty efficient to operate this way. I've attempted the "nice bitch" approach, hoping to be as lovely and likable as Glenda the Good Witch, and sometimes it's worked out OK, but I'd rather have the bitchiness be a tool that I pull out on occasion than my main style.

The other role that I see women with power at work falling into is Mommy. I didn't really mind being mommy at work before I had Emmett. In limited doses, being mommy at work can be satisfying, and a certain type of employee thrives in situations where there's someone playing that role for them. I can practically hear myself going, "It's OK, I'll take care of everything!" and really meaning the "everything" part. Shortly after Emmett was born, I realized that while I had more patience with him than I'd expected, I had very little patience with adults who couldn't/wouldn't just do things for themselves. In fact, I think that I can be a better mommy to Emmett if I don't have to spend the workday doing the equivalent of wiping people's butts for them.

So, I've been trying to figure out what my leadership style really is/should be, and it bugs me that it's not something that I can put into words. A few years back, I joked that I wanted my title to be "Queen of ESL." While parts of that appeal to me (heaps of power, looking awesome, and being sucked up to regularly), on the whole that doesn't fit, either. Perhaps during this training, some lightbulb will go off in my head and I'll get closer to figuring some part of this out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit Reading List

It's now the Year of the Rabbit, and one of my projects has been a reading list of books about bunny rabbits. Once I started thinking about it, I realized that I already had quite a few bunny books in my possession: Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, Little Bunny Follows His Nose, Guess How Much I Love You, Rabbit's Good News, Pat the Bunny, and What Do Bunnies Do All Day.

We read most of these titles together during the first few days of Chinese New Year, then picked up a few others that friends had suggested from the library (notably, Knuffle Bunny, Not A Box and Bunny's Noisy Book), and then my parents and sister also sent along more bunny books, including Peter Rabbit. The collection didn't seem quite complete until I had a copy of I Am A Bunny, a personal favorite from childhood. For some reason, neither library I go to had that one (though there were countless other rabbit-related books available besides the ones I've mentioned).

We're going to skip Rabbit, Run and the other rabbit books by John Updike, though.