Thursday, October 31, 2013

Women Gamers... as Pin Up Girls?

Kickstarter is an interesting site.  Lots of potential for good can happen there and we're able to support what we like and ignore what we don't.  But this is beyond demeaning.




Let's just set aside the fact that the entire premise of this project is completely untrue.  (Nearly Half of All Gamers are Women - CNN.com)  Let's forget that the sexualization of women and girls has proven negative effects.  (Sexualization of Girls - American Psychological Association).  And just for a second, let's even forget the mental health issues that crop up when girls are sexualized.  (Sexualization of Girls Linked to Common Mental Health Problems in Girls and Women)

Let's focus on the fact that these two young men think this is how we're going to "help" women gamers.  (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, folks.  Whiskey Tango  Foxtrot!)  What are we teaching our sons?

With this in mind I talked to my almost-10 year old this morning.  I told him what they were doing.  "They want to help women gamers by make a calendar of them in their pajamas."  

He looked at me like I had eight heads.  "How does that help?"

"Exactly!  It's not helping!  And it's not okay that these men are treating these women they're only good gamers if they show off their bodies."

He busied himself in his backpack for a few minutes as I wiped down the counter.

"That's sad," he finally said.  "Nobody ever told them they're important enough to keep their clothes on."

And that was when I knew there was some hope left in this world.

So good luck with your "project", Jared and Erick-with-a-CK.  You won't be getting any support from us.  We respect people in this house - including women gamers.

*Please note, I spent many years as a woman gamer.  World of Warcraft was not only a fun game, but a great social outlet.  However, it's also a huge time sink and I gave it up because it was too much of a distraction.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Math V. Zombies

I recently attended an outstanding conference sponsored by the Society of Women Engineers.  I left with many, many ideas about how to encourage my daughters to embrace math and science without fear.  The most important message came from Camsie McAdams of the US Department of Education.  She said we, as parents, have to stop telling our kids math is hard.  That statement was backed up by an article my husband shared with me yesterday addressing the differences between kids who excel at math and kids who don't.

When I started getting semi-frantic and very frustrated texts from my 16 year old today as she dealt with a difficult C++ class, I took Camsie's advice to heart and tried to be a math cheerleader.  Only, I don't think Ms. McAdams had zombies or bloody corpses in mind when she was giving her very inspirational talk. (And please note, this kid is in honors math and honors chem.  She rocks.  She's just temporarily stuck and that tells me she's tough enough to know when she has to work smarter.)

 jillian: Major headache because of C++ and I haven't been in here for 15 minutes. 

Me:  Noise?  Glare?  Sick?

jillian:  I don't understand the math and I've asked for help but it just makes everything worse.

Me:  Okay.  Take a deep breath.

You are absolutely capable of figuring out the math. It just takes a little time.  Can you send me a picture of the problem?  Scott, my cousin, majored in math in college.  He can probably give it a try.  And Dad can help, too.  And if they're not good enough, we'll find someone else who can make it make sense.  

You could ask your teacher if there are websites or other resources that might help you with this math... let him know you aren't giving up because "math is hard" (said in my best Barfie voice).

jillian:  I don't think he's aware that I'm not working...

Me:  Okay.  It's always good to check in when you have a problem though.  Be the kid who cares enough about his class to want to do well.  I'm sure he has his hands full.

jillian:  I tried. For the past three days I tried.

Me:  To talk to him or figure out the math?

jillian:  Yes

Me:  Okay.  We will work on it tonight.  This is kind of like... um... your brother is eating his socks.  Hang on.

Okay.  Sorry.  This is kind of like a test of fortitude.  Stare the stupid math in the eye, tell it you're going to smash it's brains in, and keep wailing on it until it's a bloody corpse on the ground.
Zombie ponies, Jill!  Zombie. Ponies!

Wow.  That was violent.

jillian:  *its a bloody corpse
.....Put away the Walking Dead, slowly. Just turn it off and walk away....

Me:  But Jiiiiillllllll.  There are new zombies now!  COOTIE ZOMBIES!  And they Bleed. Out. The. EYES!  

jillian:  Mom. Just put it away. Watch pretty ponies instead.



UPDATE:  

She and David figured it out.  Because math is only as hard as you make it and having an engineer for a father is pretty darn handy!  Sadly, there were no zombies present during the solving of these equations.  Sigh.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Together

I'm going to attempt this Five Minute Friday.  No editing, no second guessing, just writing.  The theme is "together".  And go...

There are six of us here on earth.  One of us in heaven.  And the moments of being together seem few and far between.  When we are all together, I breathe a deep sigh of relief.  Even if the kids are fighting or I'm stressing over the chaos or David is hiding behind his computer screen, trying to eek out a few more minutes of work, I breathe a little easier.  I don't have to watch the clock as closely or worry about missing someone's pick up time from choir or Scout event.

I also think of myself as constantly struggling to remain put together.  I don't mean my hair or outfits, because that ship has sailed.  (I sport a great mom-bun and love me some long sleeve t-shirts and jeans.)  I mean emotionally.  It's been a struggle to regain any sense of normalcy since we lost the baby.  We no sooner lost him than found out we were expecting again.  I had to process all of that at the same time.  And then came the wave of chaos after Connell was born last year.  The kids changed schools.  Again.  We just resolved a major issue related to that yesterday.  So slowly, I'm reassembling myself and feeling like I can fully function.

Mostly, though, when I think of "together", I think of my marriage and how incredible it is to be married to someone I enjoy so much.  We're not perfect and we're never going to be Victor and Jenny or Desi and Lucy, but we make each other laugh.  And if that's not the best part of being together, I don't know what is.

What to Do with a Wonderful One Year Old (Halloween Books and "Craft" Edition)

Halloween is coming.  Balancing the teens interest in all things scary with my need to keep things innocent and fun for the little guy is one of the many challenges we face in our "wide age gap" family.  One of the ways we've encouraged the Bigs to connect with the Little is through books.  I try to get them to read to him as often as they're willing.  These are a few of our Halloween favorites:

Where is Baby's Pumpkin - We love Karen Katz books in general.  The life-the-flap pages keep Connell interested and excited.  The page with a double flapped closet hiding the bats is by far his favorite.  We have to read that page at least five times every time we read the book.

Max's Halloween - This is actually my favorite.  I'm a big fan of Max and Ruby, despite their missing parents and Ruby's Oldest Child Syndrome issues.  The candy names and Max's obvious dismissal of his older sister's megalomaniacal demeanor always makes me chuckle.  Connell tolerates the book, but I'm sure as he gets older he'll come to appreciate Max's struggles. 

Five Little Pumpkins - A holiday classic, this book has been set to several different tunes.  I prefer to recite it dramatically, giving each pumpkin its own distinct personality.  There are several different versions online.  The counting in this book inspired this morning's 2 minute craft.

While Connell was napping, I gathered up odds and ends from previous crafts.  Since he seems to really like counting (okay, he likes saying "Two two two!" and then jumping), I thought we'd work on some simple groups of five.  I found cats, bats, and ghosts left over from something the Bigs did last year.  Punches I've collected over the years worked well to add circle pumpkins and fall leaves to the mix.

We had a serious conversation about the importance of respecting glue, but I suspect he was more interested in the Thomas episode playing in the background.  He enjoyed sticking the self-adhesive foam shapes.  The paper shapes were a little more difficult, so I helped him with those.  




The finished product will look festive on the fridge!  I don't think he has a clue how any of this relates to the books we read today, but he didn't eat the paper... so we're making progress!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Looking Forward to...

I tend to forget to enjoy the season.  I'm hoping to slow down and enjoy each moment as it comes.  This project was a quick way to help me focus on these fleeting fall days.





Simple things


Sometimes the simple things are the greatest.

Bird Watching

video
Making up a "counting" game.

Pumpkin picking fun

Playing in the corn at a local farm.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Little Vent

I went to the soccer game from hell before I wrote this.  I watched spoiled little princesses whine through their game and their mothers coddle them with promises of treats and prizes for playing "your very best".  I listened as moms compared their super-busy-extra-important-schedules in the endless "I'm better than you are" Mommy Wars.  I'm so over soccer and I'm so over the notion that our kids have to be happy-happy-happy all the time.

This popped up on Facebook yesterday and it's been bothering me ever since.  I think we put too much emphasis on making our children happy and not nearly enough on making them functional.  So forgive me, but I believe it's time for a rant...


Really?  Your only wish is for your child to be happy?  Because that's not mine.  My wish is for my children to be responsible, resectable, respectful, intelligent, capable, independent, healthy, reasonable, creative, and fulfilled.

And you know how to help your kids achieve those adjectives?  You parent them.  You keep them off of sites like Ask.fm.  You demand they follow rules - your rules, school rules, sport team rules, and the Golden Rule.  You set the bar high.  You give them opportunities to not be the best at everything.  Failure is growth and growth is vital.  You expect they respect their father and he expects they respect you.  Of course, you have to start by respecting each other.  You put your marriage first most of the time and present a united front.

You don't choose cigarettes over milk.  You don't let them talk back.  You don't let them interrupt adults.  You set limits and never make empty threats.  You treat them with kindness and compassion.   Acknowledge they may have naughty moments, but you do not label them as brats or evil.  You celebrate earned success and tell them to try harder next time when they don't get the prize.

So should you want your kids to be happy?  Sure.  Go for it.  But make sure you're doing with with your eyes wide open.  Kids aren't always going to be happy.  That's part of growing up.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Teens and Trick or Treating

Jillian's Dalek pumpkin 2012
Trick or Treaters of all ages are welcome at our front door. Sharing one of our favorite holidays with other festive families makes it even more fun for us.  My kids, particularly my oldest, pour hours of thought into their costumes and usually make them from scratch.  (Please don't think I'm Martha Stewart, but we've been pretty clever over the years.)
As much as I love teenage trick or treaters, I do have a few humble requests:

  • Ladies, please respect yourselves.  Your body is not your costume and shouldn't be on display for the world.  Further more, respect everyone else and don't make us uncomfortable as you pour out of your costume.
  • Use your manners, folks.  I am "that mom".  I will insist on hearing a nice, hearty "Trick or Treat!" before I dole out the candy and if you don't say thank you, I will merrily call, "Oh!  You must have forgotten your manners!  You're very welcome." as you slink down my driveway.
  • Remember this is really a holiday for little kids and please don't push, bully, or harass them.  Even in our nice suburban neighborhood, I've seen a little too much rough stuff and it bothers me.
  • Put a little effort into it.  Be creative, think about your costume.  Heck, even if you bloody up your old soccer uniform and become a zombie goalie, I'll take it!
  • And just be nice!  Enjoy the holiday, get into the spirit, and be a decent human being.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What to Say in Times of Loss

When a mother loses a child during pregnancy, it's hard to know what to say.  Babies live in a mother's heart long before they're born into the world.  Sometimes it's difficult for people to know how to be supportive of a grieving mother.

In retrospect, I realize how hard it must have been for my friends to help me through my loss.  Through the grace of God, most of them haven't dealt with a stillbirth.  They were wonderfully supportive and I'm grateful for all of them.  I found the following especially helpful when I lost Andrew in 2011.  This won't apply to every grieving mother or all circumstances, but these lessened my grief as much as possible.
  • Please use the baby's name.  His name is Andrew.  Please don't say "it" or "him".  "The baby" will work if you don't know his name, but please ask.  Andrew is still my son and using his name, even two years later, is something I appreciate.
  • Ask if the mother wants to talk.  Sometimes I just wanted to sit.  My friend Renee threw off her shoes and climbed into bed with me.  She let me sob all over her beautiful blouse and she didn't say anything until I was ready.  Jennifer brought us dinner, kissed my cheek, and told me she'd be there when I needed her.  And she was.  Don't just dive in.  But be available.
  • Send a card.  I have every card anyone sent us.  I have only read them once and I will probably throw them away someday.  For now those cards are a physical reminder of the people who remember my son and who love us enough to lick a stamp.  (Or stick a stamp.  Do they even make the licky kind anymore?)
  • Don't share your story right away.  I know it's tempting to be empathetic, but asking a mother to carry your hurt while she's still processing hers isn't fair.  Unless she asks, wait until the initial shock is over.
  • Offer to help and be specific.  In the days following Andrew's loss, I didn't know how to put one foot in front of the other.  The friends who said, "Hey, I'm going to pick Katie up for soccer.  I'll pack her a snack, don't worry about it." or "I'll take notes at Back to School Night for you.  Don't feel like you have to be there." were more kind then they realize.  I appreciated the offers for help as I healed, but those friends who stepped in and took control of small things were a blessing.
  • "Hey, I've been thinking about you." Those words became a secret code between my friends who had been through a loss.  It was a kind an unobtrusive way of saying, "It's okay to hurt.  I know.  I'm here if you need me."
  • Don't put an expiration on grief.  Two years and a beautiful blonde bundle of baby boy later and I still have teary moments when I think about Andrew.  That's okay.  I'm not asking you to share them or understand.  Just reserve your judgement and respect my grief.
Everyone is different.  What worked for me might not be what someone else needs.  If all else fails, light a candle and say a prayer.  Or do that first.  Prayer is pretty amazing.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Loss.

It's taken me two years to write this down and share it.  Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day and I think it's time to maybe let go just a little bit.


“Oh.  Was he an oops?”
“Wow.  That’s quite an age difference.  Intentional?”
“Are you insane?”

More often than not, those are some of the many classy responses I get when I tell people I have more than 15 years between my oldest and youngest children.  

How should I answer that?  I’ve spent the last year struggling to come up with a good response.   If I had the time, I’d tell them this:

In the fall of 2010, I tripped over a scooter while cleaning the garage.  In August of 2012, our youngest child was born.  There was a fair bit of heartache in between. 

I’m not known for my graceful nature.  When I tripped that time I managed to screw up my back in the process.  A week later, I landed in the ER with a sharp, stabbing pain in my back, right over my kidney.  During the 8 hours it took to rule out kidney stones, I had several different scans.  One of them came back showing a shadow on my ovary.  The ER doc called ob/gyn and as we waited, he told us we needed to take a deep breath.  Shadows and pain, according to Dr. Doom & Gloom, were often cancer symptoms.

Cancer.

I was 36.

Several stressful hours later, I was sent home with muscle relaxants, pain killers, and the promise that there was no sign of cancer.  But in the hours between the first mention of the C-word and my smiley happy trip home, I suddenly realized our family of five wasn’t complete.  David, my husband of 16 years, agreed.

The following spring I discovered I was pregnant and there was much rejoicing.  We waited until I was 12 weeks to tell the big kids.  Mixed reactions were to be expected, but over the months following, they grew to be more excited.  

On September 3, 2011 I went to the Boy Scout Store with David and then-7 year old Graham.  We were looking at Pinewood Derby supplies and picking up pins and patches .  It was a fun morning and I was enjoying the thought of having another Cub Scout in a few years.  In the middle of our shopping, I had a pain that told me something was wrong.  

We went straight to the labor hall where we met my doctor.  An ultrasound showed no heartbeat.  Our baby had died. 

I don’t know how I kept breathing.  Graham was in the waiting room, expecting us to take him out to lunch.  Our daughters were at home, waiting for us to walk through the door.  And I couldn’t breathe.  

Two days later, Andrew Charles was born.  He was almost 20 weeks early.  I hadn’t done anything wrong, although I’m not sure I’ll ever fully believe that.  He had wrapped himself up in his umbilical cord.  I like to imagine he just drifted off to sleep and never felt anything, but I have no way of knowing.

My doctor was incredible.  I was a mess.  I imagine most doctors would have just drugged me to high heaven to get me through delivering.  Instead, Dr. Lawrence talked to me.  He told me someday I would want these memories.  I would need these memories to heal.  He was right.  Of all the horrible things that happened during the 72 hours I was hospitalized, being blessed with the wisdom, gentleness, and talent of my doctor was the single greatest experience I took away from it all.

From Andrew's memory box.  The leaf card, the blanket my
sister made him, the tiny blanket they wrapped him in before
she arrived, and dozens of cards from people I love. 
Once I had delivered Andrew, the doctor gave me something for my anxiety. After a surgery I don't remember, I was wheeled into a recovery room where the nurses taped a postcard to my door.  The leaf on the postcard told the whole hospital there had been a loss. When they handed me my tiny baby I remember thinking that he wasn’t any bigger than a leaf himself.  He had fingers and toes.  His eyes were closed like he was sleeping.  He was perfect.

David called our priest who referred us to a funeral home.  Andrew was cremated and placed in a tiny acorn shaped urn.  My doctor assured us we could still have another child, but it might take up to a year to get pregnant.  At that point, I couldn’t imagine ever trying again.

The weeks following Andrew’s death are a blur.  I returned to my job with the Catholic Church in October.  Social services is among the most emotionally draining fields to be in under the best of circumstances.  I could tell my heart wasn’t in it any more.  I was struggling to connect with people. My patience wore thin quickly and I just wasn’t myself.  Part of me was missing and I didn’t know how to fill it.  

By Christmas, we knew we were pregnant again.  I was terrified.  The pregnancy was surprisingly easy.  No morning sickness.  Lots of exhaustion, but that was to be expected given  I was of “advanced maternal age”.  We told the kids at the halfway point.  Again, mixed reactions, but mostly concern mixed with fear.  Katie, who was 12 at the time, was the first to show signs of excitement.  

Connell, 8 hours old. 8lbs 2 oz of
snuggly baby goodness wearing a
hat my sister made.
Connell was born in August of 2012. I'm not sure which of us was louder; his newborn cries mixed with my sobs of relief made the nurses nearly yell to talk over the two of us.  The same doctor who delivered Andrew calmly listened to my blubbering happiness and told me my baby was healthy and alive and I'd done everything just right.  David gently brought Connell to me, all bundled up, sweet little eyes peeking over the swaddle.  

During the first few months of Connell's life I often slipped and called him Andrew.  I don’t think anyone noticed or if they did, they didn’t correct me.  I was afraid, in a lot of ways, that having another baby boy would some how make Andrew less real.  What I’ve come to realize is that Andrew is always going to be real.  I’m always going to miss him.  It’s been more than two years and I still have teary moments when I think about him.  Connell didn’t replace Andrew.  Connell reminded me how to feel happy again.

Pure joy.  14 months old.
So was Connell an oops?  No.  Not even a little bit.  Was he intentional?  Absolutely.  Am I insane?  No. (My mother had me tested.)  

Every year, when the leaves start to change and squirrels litter our yard with acorns, I think about what my life would have been like had Andrew lived.  And I think about how grateful I am that Connell is here and healthy, helping me find joy when I wasn’t sure there was any left.  I don't know why I lost Andrew and I know I never will.  But occasionally I see changes in all of us because of Andrew and I know, as a family, we are better because we loved him.  And I know he loved us.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Thank you, Miley

Jillian, my 16 year old, went to a great competition with her robotics team today.  This was the only opportunity all season to attend a girls-only meet.  (Okay, the guys were in the pit to lend a mechanical hand, but all drive teams were girls-only.)
Today's competition uniform

If you're not familiar with robotics, let me clue you in. With the guidance of their mentors, the kids start from scratch using their engineering skills to create a robot they then take to competitions.  (Visit TechFire's website for more details.)  During these competitions, there is always entertainment.  Today there was a bomb squad demo displaying their bomb disarming robots.  Mini robots were on hand for younger siblings to try out. And there was dancing.  Oh, so much dancing, to music provided by a professional DJ.

Today's contest was held at an all-girls Catholic high school near Philadelphia.  When Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines started pumping through the room, spectating mothers bristled.  "The date rape song?  They're playing the date rape song?"   But you know what?  We didn't do anything.  We didn't get up and stop the song from being played.  We didn't want to make a scene.  We let our daughters down.
Changing the battery at a demo this summer as the guys look on

Jillian and her teammates in the pit picked up on the song.  Jill had never heard it, so she didn't understand what the problem was.  But the other teammates knew exactly what it was and they weren't happy.  Two of the girls left the prep area and told the DJ to turn it off.  Those girls stood up for themselves when we mommas were afraid of causing a scene!

So thank you, Miley, for allowing us to have conversations with our daughters about how the media impacts them.  Thank you, Miley, for setting a really bad example so our daughters would know when to set a good one.  Despite your attention seeking nonsense, you've taught our daughters a valuable lesson:  Speak up when you're not comfortable with the environment around you.  Speak up when women are being told "they want it", even in song lyrics.  Just speak up.

They were incredible today.  I'm proud of the STEM skills they're developing.  But more than that, I'm impressed by their demand for respect and their growing sense of self.  It's amazing the things robotics can teach!

And PS:  Thank you to the parents of the guys on the team for never treating our daughters with kid-gloves.  You've raised good sons who are growing into respectful, intelligent men.  And thanks, Robin Thicke, for being a pig and allowing our sons to hear loud and clear that this is NOT acceptable behavior.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Goals

Three decades.  I realized the other day that I have had children over the span of three decades.  (1997, 1999, 2003, 2012.)  In that time many things have changed, some good, some not so good.  (DVRs = awesome.  My growing collection of silver hair = not so great.) The biggest change I've found in myself is my approach to raising my '90s children compared to the approach I take to raising the two born in this century.  It's most definitely evolved since my pre-baby days, when I thought mothers truly controlled the universe.  Little did I know...

My goals for raising kids before I became a mother:


  • May I teach them to be responsible for their words, actions and belongings.
  • May I teach them to be empathetic, strong, and kind.
  • May they value people over things and experiences over accumulation.
  • May they grow in faith, love, and charity.
  • May they learn from sorrow and reach for happiness.

My goals for raising kids after 16+ years in the trenches:


  • May I teach them to put away their backpacks, shoes, and dishes before my head explodes.
  • May I teach them to stand up to bullies and know when to duck.
  • May I teach them to respect themselves over celebrities and remember to breathe/wipe/brush/flush.
  • May they grow in faith... because if they aren't praying to God that I don't lose my mind, they don't stand a chance.
  • May they learn from my mistakes and find happiness after they make their own.


Good luck, kids.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Enough Already

Okay, folks, I've about had it up to here with a random assortment of stuff.

Smokers.  In my own family.  Every holiday, those of us who don't smoke are wordlessly and endlessly put on kid-duty while you all go outside every 15 - 30 minutes to destroy your lungs.  Ya know what?  Not any more.  We're passing on all major family gatherings until you either stop with the smoking or at least SAY something before every last one of you leaves us with a room full of children.  Happy-freaking-Easter/Thanksgiving/Christmas to us.  (My mother, husband, and I are the only ones who don't smoke and Mom is always in the kitchen.  So we're stuck with as many as 10 kids at one time while everyone else stands outside, talks, laughs, and breathes in carbon monoxide, ammonia, and butane.  This has been going on for 16 years.)

The Eye Roll When I Say No to Something.  Okay, it's not always an eye roll.  Sometimes it's a knowing, "Uh huh" or sigh.  But I am going to say NO to things, people.  I am.  I'm going to say no to selling Cub Scout popcorn.  Again.  Because it's expensive and I'm not hitting up my neighbors to buy something they could just as easily buy in the grocery store.  Come up with a better fund raiser and I'll consider it.

I'm going to say no to family events.  (We've covered that already.)

I'm going to say no to my kids when they ask if I can drive them an hour to a haunted mill and give them $50 for admission and food just so I can sit in the parking lot for 2 hours and wonder if some creep is behaving inappropriately around my teenage daughter.

I'm going to say no to lunch duty when no one demands the kids treat adult volunteers with respect.  I tried for several years, but after listening to kids say "Get me a fork!" or "Open this." well.. let's just say I've heard kids tell other kids, "She'll just stand there and stare at you if you don't ask her nicely.  She is SO mean."

No, when said politely and firmly, is an acceptable answer.  So y'all can just get over yourselves.

Conspicuous Parenting.  Remember learning about types of marketing and persuasion when you were in high school?  Glittering generalities, bait and switch, and conspicuous spending?  Well, those principles apply to parenting, too, and I've so had it.  When I take my son to the community center for swimming lessons, it's so thick with these "I'm going to outdo you" types I want to thwap them upside their non-processed, free range, organic heads.  Every week, I hear in a VERY LOUD VOICE "Little Suzie Sunshine, I just picked you up from daycare and now we're going to share this really wonderful and expensive dinner I purchased in the Whole Foods grocery store 40 miles from here.  I know we don't have fancy grocery stores here, so I made a special trip during lunch time to buy you this beautiful Bento box.  Eat it quickly before you go to dance and then yoga and then swimming!"  Oh for the love of Pete, please take your guilt and your excess to a therapist.  No one needs to hear it.  Or, at least please talk to your child in an indoor voice.

Also?  Take your kid home for a few hours.  An over scheduled kid is not a good thing.

Expensive Coffee Places.  It's bad enough I've spent the last 14 months loving coffee (note:  the baby is 14 months old today), but I only like the expensive kind.  The gas station coffee bars just don't do it.  Evil expensive coffee.  Evil expensive, really good coffee.  Evil expensive, really good, addictive coffee.

Sometimes it all just feels like a constant bombardment of frustration and disappointment... which is why I'm enjoying Happier.com.  It's less pretentious that Facebook and lets me people watch in a positive way.