Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a Pair

I'm a sucker for just-like-daddy clothing for Judah.

Here they're sporting matching canvas shoes from our favorite wallet-friendly boutique--Target (pronounced: Tar-jay).  Here's a closer look:

Isn't that the cutest thing you've ever seen?  And in other news, we bought Judah a yacht because that's how we ballers roll.

Judah aboard the USS Spoiled Brat.
Just kidding.  We snuck into a boat yard and posed on someone else's yacht cuz Judah wanted to, in his words, "Ride boat! Ride boat!  I want it!  I want it!"

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Judah's "Cheese" Face

Question--What does my toddler and Jessica Simpson have in common?

Answer--They both mug for the camera with their mouths wide open!

Judah recently caught on to the concept of saying "cheese" for the camera. But instead of saying cheese and smiling--he gives us this face:


At first I thought, how wierd to smile with a big open mouth. Who the heck taught him to do this?! And then I recalled seeing pics of the spouse with this kind of "smile" when he was a kid.  I need to dig one out, scan it in and post it here.

Apparently open-mouth "smiles" are genetic!

Friday, July 20, 2012

High Careers and Babies Don't Mix, Part IV: Asking the Question

Hi Anonymous Commenter--Thanks for the fun article read: Why There's No Such Thing as Having it All by Lori Gottlieb (response piece to the infamous Slaughter article).

I think Gottlieb made some excellent points (dare I say she even echoed my own sentiments about the destructive corporate culture of 24-7 connectivity that is tearing the fabric of our souls to shreds?) and I've always loved her insights and writing.  Full disclosure--LOVED her book--Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough (or something like that).

But what's with all the b*tchiness?

Her tone was just so mean.

I admit Slaughter's proffered solutions to the problem of 'work-life' balance were unrealistic and totally ripped apart by Gottlieb's rapier-sharp logic.  But man, chill out.

Slaughter made at least a few good points and presented one very profound question:

Is there significant societal value in having mothers proportionately represented in top professional positions?

Right now, working moms face the problem that Slaughter and Gottlieb both admit to--they can NOT have it all.  They can not be 'present' mothers AND hold top-level demanding positions (in the majority of fields) simply because of the nature of the job.

Right now women have a choice--be a mom OR get that top title.  And a lot of people (perhaps Gottlieb as well) say that's all fine and dandy.  Everyone faces choices.  Be grateful you have a choice.  Women have choices!!!  Feminism won.

But I think Slaughter is asking the next big question--are we okay with this?  As a society, do we lose out if women have to make this kind of choice?  If society IS better off with having moms represented in top positions, then what can we possibly do from a policy perspective to create this better world?

And the answer might very well be--nothing.  There's nothing we can do.  That's just the way things are.  We cannot grow wings.  A leopard cannot change its spots.  Mothers of children under 18 can not be top policy advisors to the president.  And as Gottlieb would say--we all have limitations--live with it, suck it up.

But I think it's at least a discussion worth having.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

High Careers and Babies Don't Mix, Part III: An Unfolding Case Study

The first thing I noticed about Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo, is that she's hot.  Really hot.  It's amazing how hot she is.  Not just by CEO standards, but by any standards.

The second thing is that she's six months pregnant.

Wow.  That's even more amazing than the first attribute.

So, is Mayer a poster-child for the quintessential feminist?  Or a cray-cray recipe for disaster?  (Either way, her news comes at a perfect time for Anne Marie-Slaughter's publicists as it makes her recent article freshly relevant).

Mayer has already said that she's going to only take a few weeks of maternity leave and work the entire time.  Kinda already sounds high-stress cray-cray to me.

I have no doubt she can physically do it.  This woman is worth hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to Google stock.  She can hire an entire fleet of household help.  Night nanny, live-in nanny, baby nurses, cooks, house-cleaners, butlers, personal umbrella holders, whatever she and the baby needs.

But can she do it emotionally?  Preggo and post-natal hormones are a powerful drug cocktail.  It usually makes women totally weepy and "hyper-clingy" to their baby.

But more than that, all new moms I know WANT to spend time with their baby.  They WANT to bond with their baby.  And they feel totally crappy if they don't get to do that.

I've known moms who couldn't bond much with their baby either because of health reasons or work demands and they feel/felt awful about it.  It's crushing to have your baby cry when you hold him/her and stretch out their hands to their true primary caregiver, looking for comfort in the cuddle and coos of another person.  Have you ever been rejected by a baby?  It hurts like heck.  But I can't imagine the sting of the rejection when it's your own child!

But even more crushing is when that baby gets older and starts calling that other person "Mommy" while being pretty much indifferent to your presence.  And then that toddler grows into a child and has all his/her moral instruction from another person.  And then that child grows into a teen and you wonder why you have no moral authority over him/her--oh yeah, it's because I was barely in his/her life.  But I get ahead of myself.

In all stages of life, if you want to bond with your child and have a 'real' relationship with him/her, that necessitates time.  And time is not something CEO's (let alone any full-time working mom) have a lot of to spare.

So there you have it.  The One Million Dollar Question (unadjusted for inflation) for high-career feminists--to bond or not to bond?

Time (and the development of a child's psyche) waits for no one.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I feel like a bad mommy because I haven't taught a lick of mandarin to Judah yet.

If I were a good mommy, Judah would know he's picking a "hua."
Although it's the language of my people (awkward phrase, but what else am I supposed to say?   It's not my native language, that would be English since I was born here)--anyway, where was I?

Although it's the language of my people, I've withheld it from my baby because:

(1) I suck at speaking it.  Once quite proficient, I've regressed to about a 1st grade level--if that!

(2) I have no reason to speak it because the spouse doesn't speak or understand it and no one else in Judah's life does either.

(3) I'm already speaking English and Spanish to him (thanks to his Mexican nanny) and it would take too long to say something for a THIRD time in a THIRD language.  I mean, how laborious to say "Okay, Judah, we need to go home, this is the last time, la ultima, zway ho ee tsi...that's right, last time, la ultima, zway ho ee tsi...Judah.  Drop it!  Last time!  La ultimaZway ho ee tsi!"

But now he's nearly 2 and he speaks English and Spanish.  And no mandarin at all.

I always told myself that it would be okay if I could get him into a mandarin-immersion pre-school.  But now I realize there's a big problem with that plan--he wouldn't understand a freaking thing for maybe his entire first month there!  My poor baby would be scared and confused, on top of being already scared and confused in a new environment.

So now I have to make a decision.

Do the hard work of translating as much as I can into mandarin from this point on (and probably dropping the Spanish)?  Or let it all go.  Just give up and forget about the mandarin.

Why does the kid need to speak mandarin anyway?  I barely speak it.

And here's where I feel the pull of tribalism.  It just feels wrong to abandon the mother-tongue.  If language is as much of an ethnic marker as anything else, and if ethnicity is as much of our identity as anything else--then it just feels like losing a part of ourselves.  A big, deep part.

And besides, sentimentalism aside, being bilingual improves brain function in other areas!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Candy Man

Judah loves candy.

Hmmm...a rare vintage, I'm getting a hint of apricot...maybe a whiff of late Summer white peach...

So far we've introduced him to gummy bears and lollipops.  Of course, being the anal, over-protective parents we are, they are made with only organic fruit juices and no preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup.  But let's face it.  Candy is candy.

My hands are being raised in rapture and ecstasy.

Judah hates to eat so we sometimes bribe him with candy.

Lollipops are amazing!  I've never been happier in my entire short life!

Recently we've been giving him one lick of a lollipop for each bite of food.  I've never seen his face light up so brightly as when we place the lollipop in his hand for a lick.  These pictures do not do it justice.

I guess I'm not surprised.

My earliest memory involved savoring candy.  As a toddler I had frequent reccuring dreams about a giant bag of candy hidden in my house somehwere.  I was almost lured away by a kidnapper once who was offering guessed it...a bag of candy.  And oh yeah, I used to hoard it under my pillow.

Apparently inordinate love of candy is genetic.  I just hope the kid also inherited my robust cavity-repelling teeth.  He's gonna need it!


Judah loves to point out "Shee-shu."

When he first said that word, about 6 months ago, we were completely puzzled?  What?  Shee-shu?  What is he trying to say?

After discussing it with his Mexican nanny, we realized he was saying 'sucio', which means dirty in Spanish.

There's a lot of dog poop in our neighborhood, which Judah loves to point to and say "Shee-shu mommy, shee-shu."

But there's also a lot of occasions that he says shee-shu and it's not really dirty.  Like crumbs falling on his tray when he eats a cracker.  Or his hair falling on his arm when we give him a haircut.  Or the heather pattern in my grey t-shirt.

But Judah gets pretty upset about it and always has to point it out.  I'm starting to see that he's a little OCD, like his dad.

I used to (okay, still do) get so annoyed at the spouse for making me wash my feet every time I go in the house if I had worn sandals.  He doesn't want me to trek in any dirt from the outside world.  His own feet are pristinely clean at all times.  But do you know how annoying that is?!  To wash your feet 3 or more times a day?!

But now I see it's not totally his fault.  Like father, like son.

Apparently their dislike of shee-shu is genetic.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Philosophers Against Procreation

Speaking of not having kids, here's a provocative article I came across today:

The Case Against Kids: Is procreation immoral?

Haven't given it a thorough read, but from just glancing at it, looks spicy.  I guess my blog is also a pinterest board for articles I'll save to read later.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

People Who Don't Want Kids

I know a lot of people who don't want kids.

In fact, I used to be a person who didn't want kids.  I suppose I still would be, but for the fact that I already have a kid, so kinda doesn't matter anymore how I feel about that topic.

But suffice to say I completely understand not wanting to have kids.  There are a lot of reasons to not want kids.

First, kids are a lot of work.  No joke.  Kids take up the bulk of your time and energy until they finally fly the coop EIGHTEEN LONG YEARS later.  Not to mention the expenses!  Hello college tuition--why yes, please help yourself to my wallet, take whatever you want.

Second, kids are emotional hijackers.  Your happiness and well-being are now forever linked to the happiness and well-being of another person.  As my mom-in-law put it--a parent can only be as happy as her unhappiest child.  It's true.  The sound of Judah wailing in misery or pain makes my blood pressure go through the roof.  It's scientifically proven to do so.  We are hard-wired to care until our hearts burst.  I know that if anything ever happened to Judah, the lights in my world would go out.

And you know you're going to fail.  Every parent fails their kid.  Everyone.  It's only a matter of degree I suppose.

Third (really, do you need another reason?) you just might not feel the biological need to reproduce.  I didn't.  I think maybe 75% of people have a strong urge to have kids just because that is also how we're hard-wired.  But some people are just missing that gene, or whatever.  I was just happy with the way things were.  It's not that I didn't love kids--I did, especially babies, but I just never felt the need to MAKE one.

Having made such a compelling case for not having kids, why the heck would I have one?  Asked and answered here.

And now that I have had one for 2 years, do I regret it?  Do I even, dare I say it, recommend it?

These questions are huge and would take way too long to answer.  So let me just say this for now--there is nothing like parenthood. 

There is nothing that even comes close to its heart-expanding powers.  Where before there were only puddles in the desert, there are now oceans of love.  But, beware, as the great poets of our age have sung about--love hurts.  Or rather, as Mellencamp reminds us--love hurts so good.