6.15.2010

Dylan is Growing Up

We have hit a few minor milestones lately with Dylan.

First of all, he's talking up a storm. I think he's reached the 3 word sentence point now and I'm sure 4 and 5 words are just around the corner. His words still aren't that clear... motorcycle sounds more like moder-car, but he's getting there.

Second, we took down the baby gates. He's fully capable of going up and down the stairs now on his own. He still has to hold on to something to keep from losing his balance, but I think he's smart enough to know not to go head first down the stairs. Plus he's pretty s familiar with his boundaries at our house, so there just didn't seem to be a point to the gates anymore. It's so strange to me that he no longer needs to be corralled.

Third, he has peed on the potty a whopping 4 times! Always right before his bath (since the first thing he was doing in his bath was peeing anyway). It took me a few weeks just to get him to sit on the potty, and then a few more weeks before he knew what to do once he was there. But the last few times I've given him a bath he's peed in the potty instead of the bath. We're definitely not potty training yet, but I think this is a good, no pressure opportunity for him to get used to things.

Lastly, I'm phasing out sippy cups. Dylan has been able to drink out of a normal cup for a while now, but mostly due to my laziness we have still been using sippy cups 90% of the time. But this week I decided that we'd stop that. He still gets them for his milk (which he drinks while we read to him) and I give him a straw sippy when we're out of the house. But all his water and juice with and between meals are in cups. Once our last 5 Take 'n Toss cups are gone, I'm not replacing them. Though we'll hang onto the straw cups, since even adults drink out of straws when they are out and about.

I remember going to a library story time seeing moms with comparatively enormous 18 month olds when Dylan was about a month old and thinking that I'll never, never, never make it to that point. And now here I am, with a child who walks, talks, pees in a toilet, and drinks from a cup. Crazy.

Things I Hate

After making a big deal of not wanting to use the word "hate" I did a search in my blog to see if I do use the word. I do. Here's how:

I got 61 results, though a lot of those were for the word whatever. So that made me feel a little better.

I took Dylan to the library, which Dylan HATES.

Dylan's only doing one nap a day now, which I though I would hate, but I actually love.

I'd just hate for them to have to walk through it. (Referring to my piano student and his father coming to the house on a day when our door was covered in beetles).

I hate it when I'm wrong.

I hate having to fight for a good spot. (at a general admission concert)

I hate needles and doctor-related things.

I used to hate gardening.

I really hate that the rest of the world doesn't structure their information so it is library ready. (I think I wrote this while working at the NGA when I came across an artist who constantly used a different version of his name, yet I needed to make an authority file for him).

I hate missing work or school.

I hate that most gyms make you commit to a year once you sign up.

I especially hated informing my piano students since I have a strong connection with several of them. (when I stopped teaching)

in all honesty I'm starting to hate computers. Well not really hate computers, I'm just tired of them.

I absolutely hate that song (Cult of Personality)

I hate harpsicords.

I hate feeling so unprepared.

When he put it in I told him that I expected to hate the movie. (The johnny knoxville special olympics movie... can't remember the title. But apparently it was not as awful as I'd expected).

I hate it when people unintentionally rhyme.

I grew to hate playing piano in college.

I hate the fact that it's only on once a week. (24)

Not that I don't enjoy teaching... but I really hate the hours.

I hate driving in snow.

I hate it when the floor just mysteriously starts floating away. (who doesn't?)

But the birds and squirrels must hate it. (Our dog sitting out on the back porch all day)

I hate footnotes.

I don't want to develop an "I hate going to the gym" mentality.

I hate doing laundry. (but not cleaning in general)

On the whole, I like spring because it's not hot enough to make me hate going outside, but I know those days are right around the corner.

But over the years I think it's turned into more of a love-hate kind of thing. (how I feel about Mondrian's work)

I've never really cared for going to the dentist, but my experiences there lately have caused me to really hate it.
Hmm... I guess I use the word more than I thought. At least I can say that I never blogged about hating a person. That's got to count for something, right?

6.13.2010

More on the Swearing Thing

So after adding 2 entries to my forgotten blog last night I went to bed still thinking about the whole swearing thing. I think I can get another post from it, so here we go.

There's a blog that I check out from time to time called www.shitmykidsruined.com It has pictures of things that have been broken by people's children. The "Desi-twins" picture is absolutely worth seeing. It's very entertaining to see just how much havoc a small child is capable of wreaking. Every time I check it out I can't help but wonder what my future contribution to the blog will be. So far most of our damage consists of a few dings on the wall, some stains on our couch, and snack crumbs everywhere. But I'm sure our time for a catastrophe will come.

Anyway, I was reading a review of this newish site in an online newspaper. Because of the swear word in the url/title of the blog they decided to refer to the blog as Stuff My Kids Ruined, but they did make note of the fact that the word "stuff" was a stand-in for a word they couldn't print. This is where I have an issue with swearing. How is the word shit in a case like this any different than using the word stuff? Apparently they both mean the same thing and by pointing out the fact that stuff isn't the actual word being used it's pretty obvious to the reader what word is used, and we automatically fill it in anyway. There's no ill-intent in the original title, it's merely what the author chose to name their site. Shouldn't we judge words on their meaning? I feel like swear words tend to fall into the "judge a book by its cover" kind of thing. I definitely think there are times when they are used inappropriately and for ill-purpose, but if that's not the case, then should they still be forbidden?

I also can't STAND it when people replace a swear word with a similar, but OK word, like fudge. Everyone knows what you mean when you say that, it's not really fooling anyone. So why bother?

This makes me sound like I fully support swearing, therefore, must do it a lot. I don't. It's a force of habit. I was never allowed to swear growing up, so I just don't do it often now. In fact, I was prohibited from saying some words that I still feel are pretty harmless as well: sucks, shut up, heck, and I think even stupid. I mean, occasionally I will swear, but it's not the first thing that comes off my tongue. I also try really hard to avoid the fudge, shoot, sugar, heck, and darn replacement words if I can. But I'm not perfect.

So what are we going to do with Dylan? (matt basically feels the same way, so at least we're on the same page) I guess we will just stick with convention and have those words be off-limits because I REALLY don't want a foul mouthed child. But I also really hope that we can teach him the power that words can have; to refrain not just from swearing but from hurtful language in general. I actually think that hate is probably one of the biggest that I wouldn't want him to use. I wasn't allowed to say it growing up, like when I got mad at a sibling, for let's say hitting me. I couldn't say "I hate my brother/sister" no matter how angry I was in the moment. And now I'm glad for that. Hate is a very strong and very negative word that leads to very strong and negative emotions, and I just don't need that in my life. Sure there are plenty of things that I don't like, which may seem the same as hating on first glance. But I think that in my mind I associate something that I don't like with a neutral emotion. As in, I don't like baloney. It exists, other people eat it and enjoy it, which is fine, I just choose not to. But I don't feel angry towards baloney and I certainly don't feel the need to go out convince everyone else in the world of how disgusting baloney is and then try to destroy it all. I just feel neutral towards it. But again, I'm sure there are plenty of times when I've uttered "I hate it when this happens" or something similar. I really hope that I don't say it about people though.

I think I'll have to pay more attention to the language I use now. Especially since Dylan is in full parrot mode.

6.12.2010

Reflecting on my MLS

Sometimes I feel as though I've always been a mom. I think this is mostly due to the fact that my life changed so drastically once Dylan was born that I tend to think of the person I was before Dylan as a completely different person or a completely different lifetime. Like that was the era of Just-Jessica, followed by a brief era of Jessica-and-Matt, and now I'm in the Mom-era of Jessica. And it's strange when I think of some of the things I did pre-Mom. Like I used to be able to eat a meal without a squirmy child on my lap... or that I ever went to grad school.

I love being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). Before Dylan I would have never thought it possible, but I just couldn't imagine our lives any other way now. And even though I am taking care of a child and the household there is still a little bit of guilt over the fact that I went to grad school, specifically to get a degree that would help me get a career going, and then never used it. My poor MLS is just hiding somewhere under mountains of baby gear feeling completely neglected. But I fully intend to use it in the future... thank goodness it didn't come with an expiration date. The other day I found myself thinking about my whole librarian endevour (by the way, I do think of myself as a librarian... in my mind the degree of an MLS comes with that title whether you're employed or not) because Matt and I took Dylan to the library, which Dylan HATES. He will literally run out of the library screaming, unless we're there for a play group, in which case he's fine. So we don't go often, which is sad, because they're free and if I could just get him to see that he can sit and read books there, I actually think he'd enjoy himself. But I think I'm getting off track, I didn't intend for this to be a post about Dylan's hatred of the library...

But our last library episode got me thinking about my time at CLIS. Whenever I tell people what my masters is in, I also tend to make comments about how boring and easy it was in comparison with many other masters programs. But the other day I realized that I didn't just come away from that program with a diploma, that my time study information science actually did impact me in a much bigger way that I had even realized until now.

I felt this to some extent as an undergrad, but I definitely was overwhelmed by this as a grad student... the more I learned, the less I felt I knew anything about anything. There are so many specialized fields of study and within those so many small subsets that any one person can dedicate an entire lifetime to learn about and still not know everything there is to know... even about just one small subset of a specialized area of information. How on earth can I claim to know anything about a broad field of information then? Like in music (because I REALLY don't want to use library stuff as an example), I would say compared to the average person my age I know a LOT about classical music. But I still know very little about jazz, country, hip hop, african music, australian music, south american music, etc. And then even within the classical genre, I certainly dont know anywhere near as much as my professors who taught me know. And how on earth could I ever attain to be proficient in that area when there are SO many instruments, SO much history, SO much theory, and on and on and on... to that end, I just feel like I know so little about music, it's hardly enough to say I know anything at all. And that is how I now feel about pretty much everything that I think I know anything about.

Another take away from grad school, this is more specific to the library field... we talked a lot about information sources. Are they reliable? How do you know if they're reliable? Where does the information come from? How has it been manipulated? Why would it be manipulated? Who decided that this fact was worthy of the encyclopedia entry while that fact wasn't? What if the two facts had been changed, would that affect our understanding of a topic? It really made me very skeptical of nearly all second hand information. Everything seems to have a spin, not just so-called news shows, but everything. But once it's been printed in something authoritative, people just accept it. For example, I took an arts library class. For one assignment we were giving a picture of an antique chair and we had to find out all we could about this chair. It was a group project, but every group had the same assignment. And here's what we (an entire class of graduate arts librarian students) found out. It was a chair that belonged to an English minister, once we found out the particular type of chair it was, every single art/furniture resource said that this chair was used to both pray and study the Bible but also to watch rooster fights, and made a reference to there being a painting that depicted this chair as people watch roosters fighting. But not one single time did any source name the painting they all got this information from. Maybe the painting exists, but we all found it odd, that it was never named, and that several sources used that tidbit, but never bothered to track down this painting. In all honesty I wouldn't be surprised at all if I learned that our class was the only class in the history of the world who ever researched this particular chair and so what does it matter, but it just makes me wonder and realize how easy it is for information to be manipulated. And how does that effect us? I mean, this is a very small example, but it I'm sure it happens with more important information too.

Along these same lines is the idea of censorship. Which I think the whole library world is strongly opposed to. I'm sure there's some librarian out there who supports it for whatever reason, but in general librarians are big on the whole "information for everyone" idea. Actually that's one of the things I really like about libraries, especially public ones. They provide FREE information to any, and everyone who wants it. But back on track. From an artistic standpoint I think that censoring alters the artists original intent for their work (whether it's music, visual, or written). From an information standpoint I feel that censoring is manipulative. It's okay for you to know this because then you'll think X, but if you know that then you might think Y, and I really want you to think X, so I'll just keep that information unavailable to you. But I want to be the one who decides what and how I think, which means I want the full story. And if I don't end up thinking the way you want me to, oh well for you.
I really struggle with this though now what we have a child. I mean I know that a lot of what's censored in society is good for kids... swearing, violence, sex, etc. And I don't really want Dylan exposed to those things, I certainly don't want him to think it's okay to swear at his 2nd grade teacher, let's say. But I also feel like swear words are just words I mean there are far worse and hurtful things you can say with perfectly acceptable words, so what makes a swear word so inherently bad? hmm... I think I've drifted off topic quite a bit. I think the point I'm trying to make is that I'd like to find a way to parent that doesn't involved hiding things from Dylan yet also teaches him how to correctly (hopefully with morals and good values) use information and express himself.

Obviously it's getting late, and I haven't written in a while, which has resulted in what I'm sure is incoherent babbling. But at least I wrote something. I promise things will get better as I go, but I think I better call it a night for now.

My Return to the Blogging World

Aside from email, I don't think I have written a complete sentence in a very long time. I write down to-do lists, grocery lists, directions to people's houses, dinner menus, and the ABC's (Dylan's learning his letters) on a very frequent basis. I even occasionally write things in Facebook: "cute pic" "haha, awesome" with some strange amount of "!!!!" or the smiley emoticon following it, but now you don't even have to do that, you can just click the "like" button... no spelling required. Even the sentences I write in an email are less than interesting, most of them revolve around scheduling play dates "we're free Mon, Wed, or Thurs morning... you?" But as far as intelligent written communication, nada. Even earlier today, I signed and anniversary card for matt, but all I wrote was "Happy Anniversary, Love Jessica." I can actually feel my ability to coherently and intelligently express myself decreasing by the day. So I've decided to return to my blog. I just spent a few minutes reading through some of my old posts and it made me realize that I really miss it. Not just that, but I hope I can figure out how to write like that again. These first few posts may be a little rough, but hopefully my brain will kick in soon and I'll be sounding like my old, smart self again in no time.