Saturday, February 28, 2009

Not One Mention of The Girl

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I caught up with an old friend on the phone.

  2. I did some serious house cleaning today.  We bought a very dirty house. 

  3. Besides cleaning, Adam and I spent most of the day working on home maintenance projects that have been on hold since early January.  Getting sick set us back about 6 weeks, but I think we're just about caught up now.  Today we caulked behind the kitchen sink, put away extra furniture that was just sitting where we left it when we moved in, and installed a mirror in the bedroom.  It's nice to get back to these projects.  I love being a homeowner again!

Good Press

Indulge me in one more political/ideological post for the week.  I must note that Instapundit, one of the most visited blogs out there, currently has two links to ARI on it's main page right now.  One link is to the press release about sales of Atlas Shrugged booming because of its relevance to the economic crisis, and one is to the John Allison video. 

The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights (the DC branch of ARI) also has some great news coming soon.  I got the inside scoop from Lin Zinser, the VP of Public Outreach, at the protest yesterday.  I'll leave you in suspense for now, but all of this is really exciting stuff!


About 150-200 people attended the Washington Tea Party yesterday.  The highlight of the event for me was when we chanted "End the Fed!"  I never thought I'd hear that from such a large group of people. 

It was a bit of a mixed bag of protesters, with some being primarily anti-Obama, some simply calling for fiscal responsibility, and some of us protesting the outright theft of our wealth and the speeding descent into socialism.  I think there were also some NRA types and others who weren't really on-point.  I suppose that happens at all protests.  There were 2 "celebrities" in attendance that I was aware of: Michelle Malkin, and Joe the Plumber, who apparently works for Pajamas TV now. 

I never found the time to make any signs, so we basically just added our bodies to the crowd.  We had a great time and met up with some friends but I wasn't prepared to talk to the media or really do anything constructive.  I was with a friend talking to a reporter from The Economist when I saw Sam playing and just walked away to see what she was doing.

Adam and I were very involved in the Chicago protest over the fate of Elian Gonzalez (supporting his right to remain in the U.S.).  We spent a couple of weeks preparing for it, raised money, made tons of signs, alerted the press, and at the protest, talked to many passers-by and handed out leaflets.  I felt really good about that protest.  This one, not so much.  I think it happened too fast.  But I think there are other related events coming up so I hope to do more next time.

Adam took a little video when he saw this great poster:


And I found this video, which has more substance, and Michelle Malkin:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Tea Party Day

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I love McDonald's.  It's cheap, it's convenient, and it's yummy.  It would have been very hard for my family to get into DC for the Washington Tea Party this morning without McDonald's.  I don't think everybody should eat or like McDonald's, but I get a little tired of the fast-food bashing.  People are too uptight about food.

  2. Samantha attended her first protest.  She even participated by throwing a tantrum in protest of my requirement that she stay near me.

  3. The protest was only semi-satisfying (I'll expand on that bit tomorrow), but we had a great family day riding the Metro, stopping for ice cream, and visiting Adam's office. 

Alphabet Song

This video is a bit long and choppy, but give me a break - I just got the camera and Sam is too cute.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Slides, Sauce, and Singing

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha and I had a nice trip to the playground.

  2. Best recipe for chicken breasts: Fry them in olive oil, take them out of the pan. Deglaze pan with balsamic vinegar, add heavy cream and herbs and cook it down a bit. Pour sauce on chicken.  I also made sweet potato biscuits but I burned them a little bit.  I don't think I like baking.  Still, it was good to try something new.

  3. I took some great video of Samantha singing the alphabet song.  I'll try to get it up here this weekend.

Objectivist Round-Up

Here is the Objectivist Round-Up for the week, hosted by Making Progress.  Don't miss Stephen Bourque's clever post on the sleight of hand used in passing and promoting the spending bills of the past 6 months.  Brilliant, funny, and depressing all at once!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Teeth, Travel, and Talk

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. According to my dentist, my teeth are "off the charts" white.  Bring on the coffee and red wine!

  2. Adam is home from his business trip.

  3. With all the phone calls from her daddy, plus a few from grandparents this week, Samantha is really learning to talk on the phone.  She used to whisper shyly, "hi daddy."  I've kept telling her, "louder," and now she shouts with glee, HI DADDY! over and over even when he's talking to me now kiddo, so give us some space already.  She is very confused about the phone, but she likes to hear her daddy's voice so she gets this imbecilic look on her face - perplexed and happy at the same time.  She also says hi to all 4 grandparents: Grandma, Grandpa, Grandee, and Grando.  If I prompt her, she might tell them a bit about her day: PAYGOUND, PEE-PO, TAKEY TUN, which means, "I went to the playground and there were other people there so I had to take turns."  Don't misunderstand, she loves PEE-PO.  If we walk up and nobody else is there, she says sadly, JUST SAM.  Which reminds me of this photo from when she was about 4 months old:

[caption id="attachment_625" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="The front of the shirt said "No Norm, No Carla, No Cliff""]Just Sam[/caption]

Lend Me a Hand

In case you were wondering, the rubber glove stuffed with rice that I found in my laundry did indeed come home from day care in Sam's blanket.  It is a homemade version of the Zaky Pillow, a pillow shaped like a hand that you put up against a baby to comfort him during naps.  The teacher who made it says it works, but it looks a bit freaky to me.  Still, not as freaky as finding it in my laundry.


Am I a chump for registering my products with the manufacturers?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not Today, Not Nursing, and Not Too Fast

Today was another day where there were just too many Good Things to count, but here are Three:

  1. Samantha learned how to say, NOT TODAY, NOT TOMORROW, BUT THE NEXT DAY, which is when her daddy will be home from his business trip.

  2. I had to make my belt one notch smaller and I had to remove a link from my watch.  I'm not dieting at all.  I think my body finally realized that I'm not nursing anymore and it can release all the fat.  That only took a year!

  3. Samantha made her first pee in the potty.  Wow, this is happening fast.  Maybe I shouldn't have bought the jumbo package of diapers.  Yeah, I know...wishful thinking.

John Allison Talk Now Online

The talk by John Allison that I wrote about a few weeks ago is now online at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.  I know quite a few of you were interested in seeing it firsthand.

I'm really glad to see ARI and ARC putting up so much content for free.  I wish I could keep up with it all!

National Chicago Tea Party

In case you've been living under a rock for the past week (or taking care of sick children) you've probably heard of Rick Santelli's rant on CNBC regarding the bailout plans.  I wasn't really that impressed with anything he said, but I did like his passion.  His mention of having a "Chicago Tea Party" struck a chord with many people, and now there are plans to have simultaneous demonstrations across the country this Friday, February 27, protesting all of the bailouts and "stimulus" spending.  This blog is not about politics or economics so I won't be writing much about this.  I think most of my readers can guess my opinion on this matter.  I did want to provide some links, though, to anyone who hasn't heard about this and might be interested.

This is a grassroots effort - the message is not always clear and information is sketchy.  Consent of the Governed has a pretty good summary with links.  I think this is the official web site, but you don't learn much there.  This site seems to have a good list of locations where there will be demonstrations.

Adam, Samantha, and I will attend the protest here in DC, which will be held at the Washington Monument at noon.  I plan to put together some talking points for myself by then, but I also hope some kind of real action of protest, along the lines of dumping tea, is brewing (pun intended.)  I'm afraid that a mixed-up, poorly attended event will be skewered in the media and might do more harm than good, but the situation is getting so frightening that I welcome the opportunity to take some kind of action.

Are there any suggestions for doing something more than showing up?  Or have you seen a good idea floating around?

Monday, February 23, 2009

What I Found in my Laundry

I never saw this object before in my life, until I pulled the clothes out of the washer to put them in the dryer.  It was in there, in the washer with my clothes.  I actually looked around for the hidden camera after I stopped freaking out.

In the laundry

In case you can't tell, that is a rubber glove stuffed with rice and tied together.  WTF!  How did this get into my laundry?  Rubber gloves make me think of hypodermic needles and sick people and other dirty things.  But stuffed with rice?  My mind just couldn't get around that.

After a few minutes, I started looking at all the clothes that were in that load.  Samantha's blanket from day care was in there.  I had picked it up on Friday to bring home and wash, and I never shook it out but just shoved it in the washer.  I think this must have been some craft project they did at school that got mixed into Sam's stuff.  I meant to ask the teachers today, but I forgot, and now I have to keep wondering until Wednesday.

Teeth, Taxes, and Tranquility

For some reason, I decided to go to the dentist and start my taxes on the same day.  Luckily, neither one has been too painful so far, although I have to go back for a filling on Wednesday and with taxes, you just never know.  Here are Three Good Things for the day:

  1. The dentist I basically picked at random from the ones within 3 miles of my house seems to be a really good one.  He actually talked to me about my history before he did a thing, he explained everything he did and saw, he answered all my questions and didn't rush me or talk down to me, he had brand new equipment including a digital x-ray which put the images up on his computer screen within a few seconds (cool!), and he had a gentle touch. 

  2. The mortgage interest deduction: horrible policy, but I'll take the money.

  3. The house is totally quiet right now.  Nice.

Successful Negotiations


Me:  Here is the pink pen.  Use it responsibly.


Me:  Responsibly.


Me: Responsibly.  Do you know what that means?  It means use it the way it is supposed to be used - on the paper. [With a thumbs up sign] Yes?

Sam: DEE-YO.

Me: What?

Sam: DEE-YO.

Me: I'm sorry I don't understand.

Sam, putting the pen down and clasping one hand in the other: DEAL!

Driver's Ed

After having lived in 9 cities now, I can tell you that people who have only lived in one place all have two things in common:

  1. They all think that their own city has the most unpredictable weather (even in Los Angeles!).

  2. They all think that their own city has the worst drivers.

Ok, so I'm exaggerating.  Not all people think these things, but I've seen it quite often.

I find the different driving norms in various places to be quite interesting.  In mid-Michigan, people would make left turns against oncoming traffic and cut it really close, but for a right turn they would barely put on any gas until the turn was almost complete.  In Chicago, people were just plain stupid drivers.  It was common for people to make right turns from the left lane and vice versa.  In Boston, they were extremely aggressive.  One time, someone threw a Big Gulp out his window at Adam for not moving fast enough - not at Adam's car, but at his head, through the open window!  In New Orleans, the lack of ambition in the culture showed in the driving, where people were too lazy to push hard on the gas pedal, but also too lazy to move their foot to the brake for red lights, so they'd just keep going and run them.  Here in the DC area, people don't understand the left turn yield.  Most traffic lights here seem to have a green left arrow, but a few have a green left arrow and then change to just the green light and you can turn when traffic is clear.  And people just don't go!  It happens all the time and it makes me crazy.

This is probably why Sam yells at every green light, GO PEOPLE, GO!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Month Is It?

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Breakfast with friends.

  2. A long nap.

  3. This photo.

[caption id="attachment_592" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Christmas or Mardi Gras?"]Christmas or Mardi Gras?[/caption]

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Comrades, Cosmos, and Camcorder

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Good friends are visiting.  I have some really great friends. 

  2. I went to a party sans child and drank two cosmopolitans.

  3. I bought a video camera. 

Friday, February 20, 2009

Too Many Good Things

I need more than Three today:

  1. The metaphysical malaise of being sick has left me.

  2. Samantha did the whole potty thing today.  She told me it was coming, she asked for the potty, she sat on the potty for about 5 minutes and then purposefully pushed it out.  First I took a picture of it, then we flushed it.  I was so proud! (I'll spare you the photo, though.)

  3. I got a great hair cut and color.  And I paid 40% less than usual by using a coupon and negotiating the price. 

  4. I cooked steak and Brussels Sprouts for dinner and it was excellent.  Adam does not like Brussels Sprouts, but he liked these.

  5. I finished our budget for 2009 and we found a way to pay for Montessori.  Just creating the budget relieved a lot of stress that I had because I didn't know if we could really afford our new house plus school.  It took a lot of work, but it was worth it just for the peace of mind.

  6. I received a compliment that meant a lot to me.

  7. I had an all-around great day on 5 hours sleep.

Objectivist Round Up

The best of the week is up at Rule of Reason!  I haven't had a chance to read anything yet but a few of the titles are intriguing.

A Little Thing

Right after we go and tell the Montessori teacher that Samantha is more interested in dolls and role-playing than in building with blocks or physical activity, she decides that Legos and toy cars are her most favorite toys in the world.

And she's going to be a teenager someday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Empathy Is a Job Requirement

I find that it is almost impossible to do good parenting work when I am not feeling well, either mentally or physically.  If I am sick, or stressed out, or just really tired, being a parent is painful for me, and no fun for my daughter either.  Of course, all work is difficult under these circumstances, but I'm talking about something more specific than having to push yourself through discomfort or fatigue.  I'm talking about the fact that being a good parent requires a positive attitude - a certain kind of positive attitude.

When I'm down, I can take the exact same actions I do normally, but they just don't work.  I can change a diaper and cook a dinner, but if I'm not having fun, my daughter doesn't have fun either.  This sets up a bad cycle of grumpiness where battles and tantrums (for both of us) are inevitable.

Especially at my daughter's age of 2 1/2, so many problems are easily solved with fun.  When I was brushing her teeth last night she started to get testy.  (As an aside - can you blame her?  Can you imagine if you had to let somebody else brush your teeth every day?  I call this one of the "indignities" of being young, just like having her diaper changed.  She's old enough to do much of the work herself, but I still have to get into her personal business.  I go out of my way to respect her boundaries as much as possible in these cases.)  So she got testy, and I almost said to her, "this is serious now," but as I said the word "serious" I realized that it really wasn't, and I changed my tone in mid-sentence and made it a joke.  "This is serious beeeees-neees.  Look at my serious face." And I made a funny face and she cracked up and we had a great time finishing up with her teeth.

When I'm down, this isn't going to happen naturally.  If I'm in a bad mental state, I am less likely to think of interesting new things to do, I am less active, and I'm withdrawn from Samantha, emotionally.  You can't engage a toddler with, "let's just lie on the couch and relax today," when they have a driving need to explore, to do, to play, and to interact with the people they are close to.  Being a parent means entering this world with your child.  In normal circumstances, it's pretty easy.  When you don't have the energy to cross that divide, it is torture.

Sometimes I can fake it and sometimes I can't.  I don't think I have a duty to fake it for my daughter's sake - I think it's ok for her to see me in different moods and states.  But it sure makes life easier for me if I can fake it up front rather than suffer even more later, after the situation has degraded. 

Parenting is work, but it is also a relationship.   I suppose there are other careers that require that same level of connectedness: nurses, actors, and teachers all have to relate to others as a primary function of their jobs.  But I've never had a job like this before.  Even when I was sick, I could write some code, participate in meetings, and do whatever the heck else I used to do when I worked.  I might have been a bit slower, or I might have had to put off a particularly hard task for another time, or I might have even pissed off some co-workers, but none of those things caused feedback that made me feel and perform even worse.

Being a professional parent doesn't come with sick days.  It doesn't even come with sick moments.  But isn't that yet another way that being a parent makes you a better person?  When you stop having fun, you get instant, negative feedback.  And when you do the work to cross that divide into your child's world - that benevolent, fascinating, fun world - you get to live there.

Interview, Inclement Weather, and Idol

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha used the Montessori graduated cylinders for the first time today at her interview.  It was so cool!

  2. Much time was spent at the playground, despite the cold, windy weather.

  3. Danny Gokey is in the top 12. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Snow.

  2. Naked fingerpainting.

  3. A poop in the potty.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Words, Nude, and New Testament

Three Good Things for the day is a tough assignment today:

  1. Adam teaches on Tuesday nights this semester, so he misses our usual family dinner.  Each week I tell Samantha that he won't be home for dinner throughout the day, sometimes explaining that he is teaching a class, or telling her that I'm sure he misses her.  Today I hardly mentioned it because I'm just so down with this cold.  But tonight during dinner she mentioned daddy, so I said that he was at work.  She said, TEACHING CLASS.  She remembers everything, even when she doesn't know what it means.  And the amount of new words she is using is stunning.  My parents are learning Spanish for their trip to Mexico right now, and my dad said that Sam is probably learning English faster than they are learning Spanish.  No doubt!

  2. Samantha jumped off the couch today in yet another physical feat that most kids seem to try much earlier.  For some reason, she is much more adventurous while naked.

  3. I got some good advice from Diana on my bible studies, and have decided to try the actual bible after all.  Up first, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, and the Acts of the Apostles.

A Little Thing

Samantha likes to close her eyes and turn around in circles until she's falling-down dizzy.  Have you tried it lately?  It's kind of fun.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Forgot the Title Again

Today was a good day.  Here are Three Good Things:

  1. Last night I finally finished the sections of Plutarch's Lives that were "assigned" in my ten year plan reading the Great Books.  I read about Lycurgus, Numa Pompilius, Alexander, and Caesar.  I found the stories of Lycurgus and Caesar interesting, but I was bored to tears by Alexander.  Not so great, after all.  Next, I'm supposed to read sections of the New Testament, but I'm going to read The Bible for Dummies instead.

  2. I danced a waltz with my daughter in my living room.

  3. I took Samantha to Target to pick up a few things.  I had a shopping list written on a sticky note, which Sam was holding for me.  After interrupting our shopping to give a woman my solicited advice on the pros and cons of Swiffer products, I couldn't find the list.  I asked Sam if she knew what happened to it.  We looked in and around the cart and through all our pockets but could not find it.  We moved on.  Later, Sam was pushing the cart and suddenly stopped and said, SHOPPING LIST, MOMMY!  She must have found the note in the cart, and she was holding it up to me with a look of pride and pleasure - oh, it was so beautiful.  That is the feeling I hope she can achieve throughout her life.

Sense of Order

I love identifying examples of Samantha's sense of order.  The world must still be something of a jumbled up flux to her, and she's working so hard at integrating her experience into chunks she can deal with.  Socks must be put in the shoes before shoes are put away; bib must be on before beginning to eat; dolls must be on their tummies for "nap."  Her rules, not mine.

This morning we were sitting at my computer.  I was reading blogs and she was sitting on my lap drawing with my pens.  I needed a bathroom break, so I told her I had to get up for a minute, and that she could draw more after I used the bathroom.  I started to take her off my lap, but she reached for the pens.  Instead of saying no, I waited to see what she would do.  She put the caps back on all 3 of the pens she had opened, and put them in the cup.  Then she was ready to get down. 

Just now, she picked up her Tupperware container of crayons, brought it to her table in the kitchen, colored something (I hope not the wall), and then brought the container back to its place on the shelf.

It's very rare that I have to explain to Sam which things should go in the trash and which should not.  Same goes for the laundry basket, and the kitchen sink.  She seems to have picked it all up from watching me.

Maria Montessori and Cornelia Lockitch taught me about children's need for order.  It seems to be common wisdom these days that kids need routine and structure in the events of their days, but they also need for things to have their place, and for this to be consistent.

It's a great excuse for nagging the husband to put things away, too.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sleeves, Scissors, and Straw

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha took off her sweater, almost all by herself.  Both Adam and I had been teaching her wrong, I'm ashamed to say.  We kept telling her to pull off one of her sleeves first because that's how we did it for her.  When I tried to do it that way with my own coat, I realized that it doesn't work.  No wonder she was frustrated.  Now I pull the shoulders down a bit for her and tell her to shake and flap her wings like Hen from "Little Bear" and she's all over it! 

  2. I cut the back part of Sam's hair today for the very first time.

  3. We found a solution for muddy doggy footprints in the house.  Our back yard is just dirt and a few weeds, thanks to the place having been rented before we bought it.  Every time it rained the dog was bringing in so much mud it was driving me bananas.  We're going to put in grass eventually, but you can't do it in winter.  Adam figured out that we could use straw in the meantime.  A whole bale cost us eleven dollars (not cents) and we only needed half to cover our tiny back yard.  Man, that was a huge problem...solved!

This Qualifies as Stupid

Tell me, please, that this is a hoax.


Bippity Boppity Bacon

Bacon has been making the rounds on the blogosphere lately.  Thanks, P., for finding this long-lost favorite for me, from comedian Jim Gaffigan:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pet Abuse, Piano Concerto, and Plugging-in

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha is currently having the time of her life chasing the dog and cat around the house with her baby doll stroller.  The squeals are magnificent. 

  2. I heard Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto on the radio today.  Samantha tuned it in and exclaimed, PIANO!

  3. I found some local homeschooling resources on the web and subscribed to a few newsletters.  I want to plug into the local network in preparation for later.  I'm still in information-gathering mode, but it's exciting, nonetheless.  

A Little Thing

The smell of Play-Doh makes me feel like a kid.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Biggest Laugh of the Day

Me, playing solitaire on my Palm Pilot:  No, Samantha, you can't play with it because this is mommy's toy.  You have your toys and I have mine.


Me: Yes, Toby has his own toys.


Me:  Yes, Jinx has his own toys too.  What about daddy?  Does daddy have a toy?


[pause as her eyes rove around the room, wheels obviously spinning]

Sam, with a shy smile:  WORK!

Too Tired for Clever Title

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha ate her first artichoke and liked it.  She learned how to scrape the meat off the leaf and everything.  She also kept asking for MORE SAUCE, DADDY.  Lemon butter sauce, it was.  That one has good taste.

  2. It was Valentine's Day at day care.  Sam got a bag of cute little cards and candies.  All these sweet memories we parents get to relive through our children.

  3. Adam worked from home to help me out since I'm under the weather.  (Being a professor is a good gig if you can get it).  He got Sam ready for school, took her in, and picked her up.  He also helped with dinner and clean up.  I almost felt like I had, not off?  Well, it wasn't quite a day off, but it was pretty close.  I spent my time being alone and trying to move as little as possible.


Over a week ago I mentioned that a post about selfish parenting was imminent.  I know you've all been holding your breath ever since, but you'll have to wait a while longer, as I'm too sick for anything very demanding right now.   In the meantime, this video cracks me up:

Yet Another Vaccine Update

Thanks to Bill, for pointing me to this:

U.S. Court Finds No Link Between Vaccines, Autism -

Despite my agreement with the ruling, I don't like the sound of this "special" court that was set up to handle vaccination lawsuits.  This seems to be happening often now, as a way to protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits, but the whole idea of specialized courts is frightening to me.  If there were a government cover-up on this issue, a court like this would be the perfect way to maintain it.  I've read summaries of the medical studies myself, though, and so have no illusions of a cover-up in this case, but the opportunity for conspiracy is there. 

I wonder if anybody can comment on this issue or point me to a good source of information about the legitimacy of "special" courts.

No Respect

Here's a video example of what not to do to your child (and I don't mean the blood). I'm guilty of doing it myself occasionally because sometimes these kids are just too cute/funny.  I've got to work on that.  NOT FUNNY.  (But sort of funny.)  Where do those Buckingham Palace guards get their training, anyway?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sweet, Screen-time, and Soft

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Raspberries.

  2. dooce.

  3. Kleenex Ultra Soft.

dooce Update

I'm ignoring my child right now, reading dooce archives again.  I'm up to Leta's 27th month, so I'm only a few months behind.  Here are a few highlights:

dooce encounters The Patriot Act.

Chuck gets ice cream.

Leta turns 26 months old and dooce makes me cry again.

dooce brings music back in to her life, and writes about it more eloquently than I do.


Yes!  Samantha just figured out how to use the word MINE!

(I have a feeling this is one of those posts I'll link back to later saying, "At first I thought it was cute...")

Objectivist Round Up

Titanic Deck Chairs has the latest Objectivist Round Up.  My favorite post of the week (that I hadn't read earlier) is Cargo Cult Capitalism at The New Clarion.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Toby Is Gross

These don't rhyme much, but when you get to use the word gross so much, who cares?  Sing to the tune of Three Blind Mice:

Toby is gross
Toby is gross
Toby is gross
Toby is gross
He's a big, stinking, and hairy brown oaf
His fur gets stuck all over the place
But we love him anyway
Toby is gross

And then, because she said, JINX GROSS:

Jinx is gross
Jinx is gross
Jinx is gross
Jinx is gross
He chews his tail and it gets all sticky
He's a crazy and mean and grumpy kitty
But we love him 'cause he's so pretty
Jinx is gross

And then, because she said, MOMMY GROSS:

Mommy is gross
Mommy is gross
Mommy is gross
Mommy is gross
She blows her nose all day and night
She leaves her tissues all over the place
She doesn't even wash her face
Mommy is gross

And then, because she said, SAMMY GROSS:

Samantha is gross
Samantha is gross
Samantha is gross
Samantha is gross
She makes a lot of pee and poo
She leave them in her diapers
When will she learn to use the potty?
Sammy is gross

And then, because she said, DADDY GROSS:

Daddy is gross
Daddy is gross
Daddy is gross
Daddy is gross
He doesn't always take a shower
He sometimes doesn't shave his face
He gets really stinky 'cause he is a boy
Daddy is gross

Purring, Playing, and Pigging Out

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I woke up this morning with my cat sleeping on the pillow next to me.

  2. Adam and Samantha are both feeling well enough to once again enjoy their usual after-dinner playtime.  I now have the cold, but I got to lay in bed and just listen to the giggling.  That bit of distance always helps me to be more objective and to realize how wonderful my life is.

  3. I'm about to scoop myself a huge bowl of ice cream, watch House, and go to bed. 


Where did all the Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit go?  I haven't seen any in my local stores this winter.  I hope it's just a problem with this season and not a Virginia thing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

31 Friends, 2 Walks, and 4 Number 2s

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha and I made Valentine's Day cards for all 31 of her "friends" today (her school provided a list of names).  I cut up some red paper and folded it to make cards, wrote "To:..." and "From: Samantha" on the front of each one, and on the inside wrote, "Happy Valentine's Day!" with a heart.  Samantha put a heart sticker on each card, and "signed" some of them with scribbles.  That's about as craftsy as we get around here, but it was definitely more fun than just buying cards, and Sam got to participate.

  2. Sam and I went on two walks today, and we brought the dog both times. 

  3. Sam is finally starting to recognize when she makes a poop.  I think she got focused on the issue when she had the diarrhea because now she declares, SOLID POOPIE every time she makes one.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Autism-Vaccine Non-Connection Update

Here is a great summary of the studies done on the connection between vaccines and autism:

Vaccines and Autism: A Tale of Shifting Hypotheses

And here is a report that the doctor who started the whole concern fixed the data in his original study:

MMR Doctor Andrew Wakefield Fixed Data on Autism

As you can tell, I feel very strongly about this issue.

Metal, Market, and Mice

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Another iPod update: I had forgotten that Adam had given me an adaptor to use my iPod in my car.  Instead of getting all fired up listening to the bad news on NPR, I got all fired up listening to Metallica.

  2. I went to Wegman's.  Every time I've gone there, it's made it onto my Three Good Things list.  The place is really that great.

  3. I took Samantha with me to PetCo, which is always fun.  The little mice were hilarious.  One of them was running in the wheel and he'd stop and hold on and spin upside down.  Sam and I giggled at that for many minutes.  She always loves the fish, so we're thinking about getting a Betta.

Don't Call Me Stupid

Michelle at Scribbit has an excellent post today about how the word "stupid" has become the new f-word.  (There's also a fun poll at the end.) 

When I first started hanging out with parents and their kids I was shocked when they would reprimand the children for saying things like, "That show was stupid."  Even when a small child would say something like, "He's a stupid-face," the reaction was way out of line with the offense, along the lines of, "We don't use that word!  That is a naughty word!"

I don't believe in naughty words at all.  There are words that should be used sparingly, and with careful consideration of the audience.  These are curse words, and they are used for shock value.  If you use them too often, you lose the effect.  There are other words that can only be used to hurt and have no other purpose; the n-word comes to mind, and I'm sure there are others.  Even in this case, though, I wouldn't focus on the word but the intention, meaning, and effects, in guiding my child on this issue.  Of course, part of this would be explaining how and why a word like the n-word has become so hurtful, but I would not go about this by "banning" the word.

When I was pregnant, I thought that at some point Adam and I would have to clean up our language to keep bad words away from Samantha.  We have naturally started cursing a bit less around her, but we do not hold back when we want to use a curse word in an appropriate way.  That is pretty rare.  She's probably heard them all at some point by now, if not from us, than from other kids at school.  I have no problem with that.  At some point we'll have to teach her about how others perceive certain words, but I think it's pointless to try to keep a toddler from repeating things they are sure to hear all around them.  Kids also seem to pick up the words that are said with the most emotion.  Sam loves to repeat things like, "Hyper spaz," and "Aw, shucks!" (which I used in a story I made up - shucks is a word I would never use in real life!)

Luckily, since we haven't made a big deal out of any particular word, she hasn't used curse words to get attention, although I know she might some day.

Michelle's most interesting point is one that I hadn't thought of, though.  She contends that "the trend to vilify 'stupid' represents the shift in societal values."  In the new values, she says, it's ok to be crass, vulgar, and overtly sexual, but it is not ok to be intolerant.  How true this is, and what a great insight.  You can even see this phenomenon in the comments on her post.  Many people seem to think it is ok to label an action stupid, but not a person.  While it is true that it is important to distinguish between the two, and it takes a whole lot of stupid actions to make up a stupid person, as Michelle says, some people are indeed stupid, and it's important for children to learn how to identify this.  Judging people is a difficult and extremely important skill.  When we try to ban a legitimate concept, or "labeling," as many people like to call it, we set up a horrible disconnection from reality in our kids.  What is, is, and kids know it.  When they are not allowed to state what they know in their minds, it can only damage them.

Another point I would make is that "stupid" is a low-level concept.  If you are not familiar with Ayn Rand's epistemology, this means that a person does not need a lifetime of experience to understand what it means, whereas you need much more data and integrations to understand concepts like "inane" and "ludicrous," which Michelle says some parents try to use as substitutes.  Kids can identify "stupid" based on early observations of people's behavior.  This grocery store checkout clerk is slow and has to ask his boss many questions and he doesn't know what cauliflower is, while the other one is quick and notices the coupon on your package of meat.  When a child recognizes the difference and calls the first one stupid, he might not be correct in an adult context - we know that the first clerk might be sick, or angry at his boss, or any number of different things.  We might think he is probably stupid, but we wouldn't say it out loud because we're not sure and there is no reason to go out of our way to be impolite.  But when a child makes that identification, he is integrating what he knows, and that should be encouraged.  Of course, the parent's reaction depends on the child's age, and some guidance is necessary.  At the youngest age, I'd leave out the idea of politeness which is a concept learned much later.  I might ask what he saw that made him say so (just to make sure it is a real integration and not attention-seeking) and leave it at that.  An older child might be encouraged to think of alternate possibilities, or to be polite.

All-in-all, cursing is a non-issue in our house.  Sam dropped the f-bomb the other day.  She was in the tub and just started saying, F-you, F-you.  I asked her if she heard that at school and she said yes.  I left it at that because she's not old enough for me to even ask her yet if she knows what it means.  She's just parroting and playing with sounds and looking for reactions.  If she says it in the grocery store, I don't really care either.  Other people's opinions, be damned!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Little Thing

Sam sat down with her coloring book, picked up a crayon, and said ESS--A--EM. I asked her what that spelled and she said MOMMY.

Kid Park, RV Parks, and Lakeside Park

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Another beautiful day brought us out to the playground.

  2. I spoke to my mom on the phone.  My parents are pretty awesome.  They retired and sold their house and live in their RV, constantly on the move.  Last winter they worked at Disneyworld just for fun and this winter they're taking their second trek through Mexico.  Tomorrow they are leaving their current RV park to head out into the wild, uncharted lands where the Boondockers go.

  3. I'm listening to Rush right now.

My iPod Saga

I still remember the first time I saw an iPod.  It was at an Apple Store, not too long after they had been introduced.  Adam said, "Hey, come check out the controls on this thing."  I gingerly touched the wheel - it was like no other electronic gadget I'd ever seen.  I was a bit scared of it, but then I moved my finger and got the subtle feedback of the sound and sight of scrolling.  I spun my finger around that wheel with glee - "This is so cool!  I want one."  I didn't even care what it did; I just liked the user interface.

I didn't get my iPod until early 2007.  It has been making me feel guilty ever since.  I spent countless hours loading up all my CD's, then hardly listened to it because I couldn't figure out how to get the right subset of my music on the iPod.  The whole reason I got it was that I thought all my music would fit on it.  Also, iTunes slowed down my computer and I hate headphones.  I had a 6 month old baby, I was going to school, and it was all just too much trouble. 

I used it at the gym about 3 times in late 2007, then when we moved from San Diego to Lexington, it disappeared.  Adam had been using it in his car when he drove the animals across the country.  After staying with friends in Richmond for a couple of weeks, we packed up and I realized that I couldn't find it.  I felt so guilty for spending so much money and time and getting almost no use out of the thing.

Six months and another move later, I was purging useless possessions.  I threw about 6 computer bags and 12 tote bags in the trash.  When Adam got home he said that he liked some of those bags and went through the trash to take back the ones he wanted to keep.  One of those bags held my iPod!  I was so happy to see it, and yet it took me another 7 months to start using it again.

I'm still completely flummoxed about how to choose which songs to put on the iPod.  I'd love to have it rotate my music automatically, but I can't find any way to do that.  I don't think I'll ever use it as a portable device.  I just can't imagine walking around with cords all over me.   I'd get caught on every door knob.  I can't even handle purse straps!  So I've plugged the iPod into a little radio/iPod speaker system we were given as a gift.  At least I have some kind of music in the house now.  We sold our old "component" system and speakers when we left Michigan, and the one portable CD player we brought with us broke about a year ago.

I'm hoping that I'll finally learn how to love my iPod.  Music is one of the values I had to give up temporarily, partially because of the time required to take care of a baby, but mostly because of our multiple moves.  It's hard to explain what it's like to be adding values back into my life, instead of trying as hard as I can to "simplify."  There was no sacrifice involved - Samantha, Adam's career, and the adventure of living in three new cities were greater values (although barely, where the moves were concerned).  Still, I had to give up a lot of the Little Things.  I think it is so important to have both kinds of values in your life: big things like career, family/friends, and personal growth, and little things like a nice set of sharp knives, a good haircut, and trips to the zoo.  Music falls somewhere in between for me, and I'm glad to have it back.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Milestones, Music, and Mud

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha did so many new things today: she cracked her first egg, took off her pajamas by herself, took off her coat almost all by herself, and learned how to tune in a station on an analog radio and adjust the volume.

  2. I listened to music on my iPod.  Oh, it's a whole new world I have to explore now!

  3. We went to the dog park today since it was close to 60 degrees.  This was Sam's first time there.  As soon as she saw all the dogs running around, she said, DOG PARTY!  (If you know the book Go, Dog, Go! then you know where she got that.)  The snow and ice had recently melted so we all got muddy which was half the fun for Sam and Toby, I think.  It was fun to see all the different breeds, as I've been enjoying Dog Week over at 3-Ring-Binder.  There were a couple of huskies and a Rottweiler mix I almost kidnapped.  I'm really more of a cat person, but a dog park is one of the happiest places on earth.  Can you tell he had a good day?

Muddy, happy dog

Friday, February 6, 2009

Me-Time, Man's Best Friend, and Music

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha went back to day care today.

  2. I went to Target.  I took my buddy, Toby, along for the ride. 

  3. I started re-loading my iPod, after putting it aside as just too much trouble about a year ago.  I'm determined to have music in my life again. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Objectivist Round Up

Rational Jenn has the latest Objectivist Round Up, a collection of the best Objectivist blogging of the week.  Enjoy!

Simple Tasks, Selfish Parenting, and School Interview

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Things are starting to get somewhat back to normal around here.  Both Adam and Sam are still sick, but doing better.   I cooked a real dinner, spent dedicated time with Samantha that didn't involve television, did some organizing around the house (that felt so good), did some cleaning around the house (that was so necessary), wrote The Sam Update, gave the cat and dog some attention, and wasn't used as a human mattress or toilet once all day. 

  2. I made a start on a new thread I'm planning for the blog called Selfish Parenting.  First post should be ready in a few days!

  3. I made an appointment for Samantha's first interview at a Montessori school.  I'm not totally sure the interview part is a Good Thing, but I'm excited about Montessori. 

The Sam Update - Twenty Nine Months Old

Our daughter continues to become more independent every day.  I'm enjoying the fact that Samantha can go up and down the stairs on her own now.  It really reduces the level of awareness I have to maintain when she is running around amusing herself.  As I write this, though, Sam is yelling, MOMMY, COAT! MOMMY HELP COAT! because I've left her coat on and she doesn't want to take it off herself.  There are some things this girl just doesn't want to do.

Sam has painted at school many times but today we painted at home for the very first time.  The "teachers" at school have told me that Sam is particularly interested in books and art, so even though it'sHands of Blue not my thing, I'm going to try to get the easel in the kitchen for painting a few times a week.  The best part of painting, though, was seeing Sam take a wet paper towel and clean up every last bit of paint from her belly and legs all by herself.  Cleaning up is something we don't have a problem with in this house!

In the past week or so, Sam has become more physical, climbing and jumping and squeezing and rolling.  I put a bunch of pillows out on the floor for her to jump in, but that doesn't seem to interest her.  I can't wait for the weather to break so that we can go back to the playground more often.

A favorite game right now is talking through the baby monitor.  Sam asks for BABY MA-DA all the time, and when her dad is upstairs in her room, she likes to call out DADDY-DOH-DOH, and he replies through the monitor, "Sammy-so-so."  She could do that all day.

Her memory is improving, too.  We noticed a big difference in her awareness of past events after our trip to Florida.  She is still talking about it, saying that she misses grandma and grandpa, talking about swimming and walking outside with the dog.  She picks up a candle and says, LIGHT, CANDA, GRAMPA because she remembers lighting the menorah with him, and she often raises her cup at dinner, saying, TOAST, TOAST, GRANDPA because he taught her how to toast.  She also remembers two recent visitors to our house, talking about things we did together, and she knows the names of the kids who live next door. 

Maybe my favorite development of the month, though, is my realization that Sam is beginning to look like my mom. 

[caption id="attachment_420" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Grandee's Granddaughter"]Grandee's Granddaughter[/caption]

A Little Thing

When Samantha "counts," she always ends up on eight.





Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hat, Healthy, and Helpful Husband

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Samantha made a face out of play-doh.  I made a circle for the head, and she made eyes, a nose, and a mouth.  All features were indistinguishable circular blobs, and both eyes were on the left while the nose was on the right, but she named them as she put them on, and she got them in the right places from top to bottom.  Then she put another blob on the very top and said, HAT.

  2. Samantha didn't TOPE UP (throw up) today.

  3. Adam went to the grocery store late last night to make up for my slacker housewife ways and remembered that I had mentioned in passing that what I really needed was an US Weekly magazine.  He came home with the latest issue and a Milky Way bar.  This is getting dangerously close to soap operas and bon-bons.

Toddler Art

Before I had a child, I thought I understood what parents meant when they said that they loved their childrens' artwork.  I mean, your own child created that scribble, so you think that it is important in some way.  You might put it up in your office in case your child comes to work so he can see that you support him, or maybe you even like to have it there because it reminds you of her.  You don't want to throw anything away because it's a record of how your child progressed.  Yes, sure, you love your child's drawings.  I get it.

No, I didn't.  I love Samantha's drawings.  I mean, I actually like to look at them.  They please my eye.  I could hang them all over the house as decorative art, not just because she drew them, but because they are pretty.

I'm sure all of us parents are just a little bit insane.

Sam's Scribble

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Little Thing

Samantha pronounces Little Bear, LIDA-BAYDA, but pronounces Yogi Bear, YOGI-BEAR.

Modern Medicine, Lots of Laundry, and Relaxing with the Remote

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Thank you, RotaTeq, the Rotavirus vaccine, for saving Samantha (and me!) from the experience of diarrhea and vomiting until this week, when she had it from antibiotics. 

  2. I am capable of taking care of a child who is spewing foul-smelling stuff from both ends.  Seriously, I didn't know I had it in me!

  3. I caught up a bit on my TV watching today.  I really enjoy American Idol, but I have to fast-forward the parts where they make fun of the bad singers.  I only started watching the show two seasons ago because, when I watched a bit of the first season, I was turned off by all of that and avoided the show for years.  I didn't realize that was just a small part of the show.  I like rooting for the singers I like, I like the singing itself, and I like the excitement of the competition. 


Forgive me, Internet, for I have sinned.  It has been 34 days since my last confession.

I love Jon & Kate Plus 8.  This is the reality show about the couple with a set of twins and a set of sextuplets.  Before I watched it I figured that this was a show about a redneck religious family mooching off of gifts from people who think that cranking out a bunch of kids is the lord's work.

They are indeed religious, which is why they made the choice not to reduce the number of embryos early in Kate's pregnancy.  While I find that choice to be insane, like just about everything motivated by religion, I do love watching those kids.  They are just adorable.

Kate is also highly amusing.  She's bossy, controlling, and a total neat-freak, and yet she's likeable.  Jon seems completely spineless, but as you get to know him you learn that he is mostly just one of the most mellow people you'll ever observe.  They're both intelligent and, despite some faith issues, for the most part they parent consciously.  Somehow, they make their family work.  When I feel overwhelmed with my one child, watching this show sometimes helps me gain some perspective.  They have eight.  At one point, they had two 6-year-olds and six 2-year-olds all at once.  Can you imagine!

If you watch the show, tell me who reminds you most of your own child(ren).  Samantha is like both Alexis, the mischievous one, and Aaden, the one they call the "professor," not just because he wears glasses, but because he is "in his own head" so much of the time.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I Forgot to Add a Title

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I got out of the house.

  2. Samantha took a nap on my chest.

  3. It's Ayn Rand's birthday.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

John Allison

Until Dec. 31, 2008, John Allison was the CEO of BB&T, the 14th largest financial holding company in the nation.  He served as CEO for 25 years, growing the company from $4.5 billion in assets in 1989 to $136.5 billion today.

This highly successful man gave a speech for the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights last week, entitled, The Financial Crisis: Causes and Possible Cures.  Adam and I attended. (Thanks J and A, for babysitting!)

The theme of the talk was that the fundamental cause of the crisis is government intervention.  Mr. Allison stated his theme, and then gave the audience over an hour's worth of facts to back it up.  Amongst many other things, he covered the roles of:

  • The Federal Reserve

  • FDIC Insurance

  • Fannie and Freddie

  • Government housing policy

  • The SEC-sanctioned ratings agencies: S&P, Moody, and Fitch

  • Fair Value Accounting

  • The Patriot Act

There were many details that I was unaware of, but most of the general points were familiar to me - the manipulation of interest rates, the insane "affordable housing" policy which is now known as subprime, the pick-a-payment loans made possible by Fannie and Freddie, etc.  Still, to have all of those facts put together in one presentation, given by an expert in the field, was quite stunning.  It was a wonderful antidote to what is being said in the mainstream media.

Mr. Allison believes that the long-term cure for our current financial woes is a philosophical one.  Without a change in the culture of this country, he said, we are clearly headed for disaster - it is just a matter of how long it will take.  In the short-term, though, he suggested a 10% real estate tax credit.  I couldn't follow the details (sorry, I know this might be the most interesting part to many of you) but the intention was to stimulate activity in the real estate market.  More broadly, he called for deregulation of the financial industry, claiming that the idea that deregulation is the cause of our problems is ridiculous since his industry is the most highly regulated one of all time.  (I'm not sure he meant that literally, but of course he is correct that it is highly regulated.) 

That is what gets me about this whole mess.  The evasion required to call for more regulation in this situation is frightening.  I can understand ignorance, but it's not coming from the uneducated - it's coming from people who should know better. 

It was nice to hear from somebody who really does know better.

Calm, Clean, and Climb

I could write a really funny post tonight about all the bad things that happened today, but the whole point of this Three Good Things exercise is to help me stay focused on the positive.  Still, throughout the day, I've been blogging all these crazy moments in my head: diarrhea on the walls, dog eating cat poo, dog puking in back yard, cat escaping the house, girl puking on the kitchen floor and then slipping and falling in it, getting the cat out from under the basement stairs with a broom (classic!), cat turning over trash can to get to empty dog food can, empty trash can sitting on our front porch since last Tuesday because we've been too sick to bother bringing it in, girl puking on my leg, girl having diarrhea as I'm putting ointment on her diaper rash, and, well, I guess I cheated by writing all of that.  Sometimes it helps more to write about the bad things.  Still, I'm sure there are Three Good Things.  Here it goes:

  1. I caught up on my sleep for the first time in a week and was able to handle most of the day without losing my temper or my good attitude.

  2. I vacuumed the entire house, which was quite an accomplishment on a day like today.

  3. Samantha climbed up on her chest of drawers.  She is definitely in a physical developmental stage, doing things that I understand most kids do when they are about 14 months old.  She pooped all over the wall and the drawers about 30 seconds after I took this photo:

[caption id="attachment_376" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Proud Climber"]Proud Climber[/caption]

Search Objectivist Parenting Blogs

I've created a Google Custom Search which you can access at the bottom of the main page of this blog.  It searches all of the parenting blogs that I know of by Objectivists or fellow-travellers.  Right now, that includes my own blog, 3-Ring-Binder, Homeschooled Twins, Kim's Play Place, Optional Values, Principled Parent, and Rational Jenn.  Please make suggestions for additions, but, of course, I'll be the final judge of what is included.  Hopefully I can find a way to make it look prettier, too.

I've already found some good uses for the search.  For example, when writing my last post on Positive Discipline I wanted to review what I had read earlier on these blogs, to remind myself of particulars and also to give due credit to those who assisted me in my thinking.  You might be interested in what Objectivist parents have to say about attachment parenting, early potty training, or music lessons - this search should limit your search results better than a general Google search would.

In creating this search, I found Google is listing search results for my own blog in a strange way.  For the most part, it is returning my categories, not my posts.  I just created a robots.txt file based on some suggestions I found, but if anybody has any better ideas, please let me know.