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Thursday, February 23, 2012

152

Down to You

When you have a baby, you are often forced into moments of unpleasant and unfamiliar introspection about yourself as a person. And I don't mean "oh, God, I am so bad at this, and why can I not put my iPhone down even though I am supposed to be providing my baby with constant eye-contact," because that's just par for the course.

No, I mean the work of looking at the sort of human being you have grown up to be, and deciding what's wrong with you. Obviously, if you are a serial killer, this work is fairly simple. But if you enjoy the general self-esteem of individuals born in the 1980s and onward, it can be challenging to objectively say "these are the things about myself I wish were different," and then figure out how you could have arrived at a better place.

It's not necessarily a question of "I had lousy parents." I had fantastic parents, and I really enjoy my life, and obviously there is no more satisfying occupation than freelance lady-blogging, but when you're lying there staring into the eyes of this perfect not-yet-messed-up-or-damaged creature that has never known sadness or loss or anything worse than that time you forgot to turn the baby monitor back on and slept through an hour of crying, your mind starts to work overtime.

What's wrong with me? I didn't learn to drive until I was 28. I can't tie knots. I'm a terrible shot. I can't help anyone back up a trailer. When I fry or saute things, I spray oil everywhere. I'm a horrible gossip. I am irrationally relieved to be married because I am incapable of maintaining perspective or dignity when relationships end. I secretly worry that all I really want to do is watch Doctor Who and lie on my couch re-reading YA fiction. I go to the dentist once every six years, need it or not. My poetry is terrible. I will never finish my novel, and it sounds exactly like Robertson Davies anyway. I make excuses to leave parties if people are playing board games. I only enjoy parties if I have Klonopin. I never figured out what was happening in Libya. I'm still not clear what SOPA is. I'm not just a normal agnostic, I'm one of those people who irrationally hate religion. I only do good things for the credit, and worry that I might become a spree killer in a cultural vacuum.

I have watched "Pete's Dragon" six hundred times, but have never seen "Apocalypse Now." I think that thirty percent of the songs on "Court and Spark" are about me. I throw out sponges every day instead of cleaning them properly. I write constantly about HAES and fat acceptance but wig my shit out if I gain three pounds. I can't apply eyeliner. I have all the bad parts of being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but never want to go anywhere or do anything or listen to my voicemails. My passport always expires before I bother to renew it and then I have to expedite everything. I bite my nails. I read the comments.

And, obviously, I make everything about myself.

But this kid? This kid is going to be like the cosmic lovechild of Pippi Longstocking and Lyra Belacqua and Emily Starr and Lisa Simpson and Astronaut Mike Dexter. Or she'll be exactly like herself, and all I can do is make sure she has the right sort of books and insist she learn to drive the minute state law allows.



152 Comments / Post A Comment

hot dog princess

"I'm not just a normal agnostic, I'm one of those people who irrationally hate religion" WHAT UP! If that is a personality flaw, I definitely have it. Although, I don't hate religion so much as I hate people using it as an excuse to have ignorant beliefs...

Lily Rowan

@hot dog princess Speaking for all religious people, we hate that too.

entangled

@hot dog princess yeah I'm not sure that's necessarily a personality flaw. being self-righteous about hating religion is, but I think self-righteousness in general is a major, major personality flaw.

hot dog princess

@Lily Rowan Understandable! I don't think all religious people are like that at all, but the ones who are definitely bum me out.

Lumpy Space Princess

@hot dog princess I just logged on to say Hiiii felloow princess!

joewhite

@hot dog princess I am a beautiful woman, divorced and I love good educated man and rich romance is my dream... so I joined BillionaireFriends.COMit's where to con;nect with beautiful, successful and wealthy people!

Craftastrophies

@hot dog princess I sort of hate it worse when people use atheism to have ignorant/exclusionary beliefs. I mean, that is what religion is for. If you're pretending to be better than that, PRETEND BETTER.

hot dog princess

@Lumpy Space Princess What's up LSP!!

wharrgarbl

@Craftastrophies Seriously. "I hate Muslims/ladies/non-white people/all foreigners living abroad because something something atheism and something something science" is not really a tenable thing.

jhonsons

So easy...love@j

annepersand

The worst part about that self-introspection and -improvement, for me, is that it generally only occurs within the contexts of someone else I want to impress or depress and the rest of the time I sort of muddle around in a low-grade fog of non-specific self hatred, briefly tempered by hypomanic Good Self Esteem moments that tank the minute no one notices them. Like, what's wrong with me that I'm in my mid-twenties and I'm still working myself out oppositionally to other people?

And why do I constantly jump into the comments of a fantastically introspective piece of writing and make it about me? Why can't I keep that shit on Tumblr?

(But seriously, this piece was great, I love reading everything you write about you and the Tiny Cliffe.)

annepersand

@annepersand Also, dear god, did you somehow genetically engineer the scientifically most adorable child, like, I know everyone thinks their baby is the cutest or whatever but they're all wrong because your baby is the cutest.

feartie

@annepersand I was coming here to post a link that was kind of...critical, I suppose. But It just kind of got my back up. Like, you are not the films you've seen or the knots you can't tie or the tropes you relate yourself to. It still bothers me, I can see what you're getting at, with the 'low-grade fog of non-specific self hatred'. Which - well, goes for me too.

jules

@annepersand Gurl, I'm in my late thirties and I still work myself out within the contexts of other people. Please be proud of yourself for even being aware of it, cuz it took me like 15 years to see it?

But I've thought about it a lot, and I don't know that it's 100% a bad thing. Being motivated by someone else to be a better person may be sort of natural, and beautiful in a way. As long as we continue to learn to love ourselves, etc.

Fodforever

@annepersand Thanks for making it about you! For reals you guys, I love reading about total strangers tiny quirks, eccentricities and general mind-fuckery... I like to think that my brain files it all away into a "people" file, and then down the road some random comment or post I read here will become a characteristic of a character in a short story that I will one day write, and it will make my writing real, because you all are real!

But... I don't write that much because actually sitting down to write a story is just the worst, the worst. And thinking about short stories always reminds me that my writing feels too immaterial to actually write a whole book...

So I guess what I'm saying is just that I write these short stories in my head and not on paper, so I like hearing from you all and thinking of you and absorbing you into my brain.

The end.

Kitekatze

@annepersand oh yes, 30 and still not sure what to do about it. I've been told I should "speak" to someone but having to listen to some other persons opinion of how I should be fills me with dread and thus leads me to avoid the idea. Sometimes I wonder how good it would be to be that obnoxious person who thinks the sun shines out of their own arse.

miwome

@jules I think it's okay too! We are social animals, we do all kinds of things out of consciousness of other people and their thoughts/opinions/etc. This is how we are meant to be. I feel like American/Western philosophy about The Individual can place this tremendous burden on us to be the same in every context ("be yourself" "I'm just doing me" "don't let them change you"), to know exactly what we, ourselves, are like and why, for our own independent reasons and...I just don't think that's how humans are.

(There was a study done, and it found apparently people behave significantly more honestly--not taking the last cookie, not stealing something that's left out, not looking through someone else's phone--if there's a mirror in the room. The feeling of being seen, even though there is actually no one to see, apparently improves us!)

candybeans

@miwome Oh man, that's amazing! A mirror! People are the weirdest and silliest.
@Kitekatze a good therapist won't tell you how to be, at all; they'll guide you in shedding the crap that *you* don't want haunting you anymore. I finally found a good therapist after numerous misses, so I'm all about well-chosen therapists right now.

Danzig!

@annepersand Oh dude that is exactly me. I know people always say "you gotta love yourself before somebody else can love you" but, man, I would feel so much better about myself if I could see someone every day and know that they wanted me there with them, felt good about me being there, and be incapable of second-guessing that knowledge.

I had that for awhile and I felt like an honest-to-God changed man. I could not relate to the sad-sack I had been the entirety of my life before that. But you can't have that all the time, not even when you're in love. Sometimes especially when you're in love.

Aaaand it's 2:40 AM and I can't drink and I have some deep-seated mommy issues apparently! Boo hoo me. I'm going to go fiddle with my OKC profile again

cminor

@Danzig!

I want that too, and I had it for a hot minute, but my own insecurities tell me that the other person is deluded because of their love and even if they believe what their saying, their praise is misguided.

I also do this sick thing where I date men who think that I'm out of their "league" for whatever reason (which is categorically false) because I like having that power, and feeling worshiped. This spawns a lot of self disgust.

My current boyfriend and I have a much healthier relationship though. Sometimes people "always say" things for a reason. :)

Danzig!

@cminor That's a good position to be in! Mazel Tov!

iceberg

You write things that make people cry at their desks at work.

(No I liked it though. Very relevant to my interests too)

Roxy Throatpunch

@iceberg I literally JUST said (typed) that to @TheBestJasmine. Between this and the breastfeeding post, Nicole has basically had me in tears at work for a month.

(Don't mind me, my daughter is turning one tomorrow, and I'm losing my mind.)

"Or she'll be exactly like herself, and all I can do is make sure she has the right sort of books and insist she learn to drive the minute state law allows."

Pretty much that's all I'm aiming for. I hope at least I don't screw the books up. If I get the books right, I feel like she'll be okay.

EpWs

@Roxy Throatpunch BOOKS. Books are key. Books teach spelling, vocabulary, grammar, behavior, as well as showing you all sorts of Different People and Things. They are the best, and I am sure you are doing great. (also, happy birthday tomorrow to your little one! I hope she gets books and cake!)

The Hons

Board games are the WORST. I have totally done this. And people that I thought were my friends have stared at me weirdly for peacing out at 9:00 pm.

SarahP

@The Hons For me, it's Apples to Apples. The second someone suggests Apples to Apples, the party is dead to me. The only time I enjoyed playing Apples to Apples was... never.

Ophelia

@SarahP I am so glad you feel this way. I thought I was the only one!!

redheaded&crazy

@Ophelia I ... who are you people?

mackymoo

@SarahP I also hate board games at parties, but was never sure why because I feel like the kind of square who should enjoy them. I hate small talk with strangers, so shouldn't board games be a good activity? But the idea of adults gathering around to play Apples to Apples is horrifying. I think maybe it's the pressure to perform?

Interrobanged

@The Hons Or let's sit around watching each other play Rock Band! That is so super fun.

redheaded&crazy

@mackymoo BE FUNNY OR ELSE.

seriously though, we toronto hairpinners played enough apples to apples this weekend to rack up 30-40 adjective cards each.

so i guess ... don't come to my parties! :'( but I want you all there!

The Hons

@mackymoo I think it's the level of enthusiasm among the devoted. I don't like to be around people who get that excited about ANYTHING, let alone a party game. I also feel this way about flip cup.

If it's not watching Battlestar Galactica and taking shots every time a sleeper cylon shows up, I want no part of it.

The Hons

@Interrobanged Yes, and please let it be in a suburban basement on a sunny weekend afternoon.

SarahP

@The Hons But if you ever get a chance to play the BSG board game, you should. (But not at parties. At game nights!)

whizz_dumb

@redheaded&crazy I like playing games with 2 to 4 people, especially classics like Chinese checkers and dominoes. However, one game night we tried Settlers of Katan and the hosts (a romantic couple) ended up getting in a bad argument because of it. Be careful. That said, rolling dice at a bar with about 8 friends anteing in was really fun. I like dice. I enjoy wasting Washingtons.

mackymoo

@The Hons Yeah I am pretty laid back in that way, unless OMGWHYDIDYOUKILLBILLY

Two-Headed Girl

@The Hons There are some that are really fun! And then one time you end up staying out until 2a.m. playing Arkham Horror and you just want to shank the next person who suggests that game nights are a good idea.

So I've heard, anyways. (And for the record, Arkham Horror is fun! Just not at 2a.m.)

jules

@SarahP Apples to Apples is really fun to play at the END of the party, when everyone is drunk and only a few core people of the group are left. It's a nice way to bond with people and wind down the night.

SarahP

@Two-Headed Girl Ughhhhh Arkham is so lonnnnng... not to mention the 1-2 hours of sorting all the game pieces after you're done.

meetapossum

@redheaded&crazy Right??

I was dating this guy a couple of months ago, and I invited him to a games night at my friend's apartment, and he said, "No, thanks. I don't like games."

Who doesn't like games?? Maybe it's for the best that things didn't work out.

gravybean

@The Hons It's like all your friends suddenly say, "Hey dudes, let's get as boring as possible and waste Saturday night!" I got stuck at a board game New Year's party. I was all dressed up sharp and ready for raucous fun, but no, board games.

dakdakdak

@The Hons Agreed. More like bored games, amirite? *rimshot*

plonk

please finish your novel!

phlox

I have been obsessively listening to Court and Spark all week! I have been reading Girls Like Us, which has prompted the obsessive listening, but aah I love those albums. (Also there is a 33 1/3 book on Court and Spark that I should be getting from the library next week!)

raised amongst catalogs

@phlox Again and again, the same situation, for so many years; tethered to a ringing telephone in a room full of mirrors.

atipofthehat

@phlox

Even though I know who it's about, I still love "Free Man In Paris."

Ophelia

@vanillawaif This makes me wonder. How do you all pronounce "mirror"? Because I definitely have 2 solid syllables in there, but a friend of mine says, "meer." Which clearly is how those lyrics work.

nonvolleyball

@phlox my mom & I recently quoted lines from every single song on that album in the course of an extended email conversation.

the whole thing is amazing, but Trouble Child is my favorite for ugly introspection.

SarahP

@Ophelia It's like 1.5 syllables for me. Technically I say it with two ("Meer-rer"), but they blur together so you might not notice.

raised amongst catalogs

@Ophelia I am too late to say what SarahP already said! It is also how I say "mirror."

SarahP

@vanillawaif Is it regional? Where did you grow up? I'm from Upstate NY.

miwome

@SarahP Two syllables for me too, and I do think it's regional--"mihr-ruhr" seems to be an East Coast/New England thing. Sort of like horror: "hawr-ruhr" (East Coast) vs. "hore-ruhr" (...elsewhere. There were people from all over at my college, I did a bad job of keeping track of accents).

raised amongst catalogs

"I am irrationally relieved to be married because I am incapable of maintaining perspective or dignity when relationships end." --> I cannot relate to the first half of that statement but the second half describes me PERFECTLY.

lora.bee

@vanillawaif I feel exactly the same.

raised amongst catalogs

@lora.bee Sometimes if I'm driving in the car for long periods of time, I'll reflect on moments I'm not super proud of - times when my heartbreak took me by such complete surprise that I had no time to stop, breath and reflect before I acted. I was remembering yesterday when I left this voicemail for a former dude who done me wrong: "Hey, it's me...just wanted to call and say sorry I had sex with you and then didn't call you all week. OH WAIT THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY." Believe it or not, this did not make him want to be my boyfriend forever and ever.

lora.bee

@vanillawaif I am going through this right now. Actually I think you were one of the ones that said something when I commented on my bf and I going through a mutual break-up a few weeks ago and then finding out his dad has cancer... This week he called me just to 'say hi' and 'maybe hang out'. I asked if he needed me because of what is going on with his family right now, and he said no, I just want to hang out. It was so hard to say no, but we are NOT at the friends stage yet! And I miss him so much. Ughhh it's so hard not to call, but I know I am not ready.

raised amongst catalogs

@lora.bee You remember correctly, and I remember your situation! (Is that creepy, or comforting? That an internet stranger knows your story?) I was wondering how things were going but didn't want to ask. I'm glad you are doing what's right for you - there are so many layers of sad going on in that situation that it would be very easy to put yourself on the back burner.

raised amongst catalogs

@vanillawaif I actually do know the difference between "breath" and "breathe," and I cannot believe I didn't catch my typo. :(

lora.bee

@vanillawaif That is actually comforting! Thank you. Well he called me when they found out, and a few days later he called to tell me how bad things are (very, very bad) and asked me to come over. So of course I went, and held his hand and stayed there that night...you can guess what happened. It was so confusing and overwhelming, so a few days later I called to check on him and he said he was doing okay. I said if you need me, do NOT hesitate to call me, but otherwise, over and out. I can't call him every day to see how he's doing. I didn't hear from him for two weeks, so I assumed he was leaning on his other friends and doing okay. But now this 'hang out' phone call! I felt so awful saying no, but it would just be way way too easy for things to get even more confusing.

raised amongst catalogs

@lora.bee Oh, sweet lady, confusing and overwhelming indeed! I'm sure having you with him (in every way) was very comforting to him. As you said, though, it would be more confusing -- and what you need and deserve is crystal-clarity. My heart totally goes out to you. If I knew you in the real world, I'd watch movies and eat snacks with you!

lora.bee

@vanillawaif You are absolutely wonderful :) Thank you so much.

princessS

@vanillawaif I relate to this so much too. I was casually dating this dude, who I was obviously more into than he was me, and we made plans to hang out on New Year's Eve of 2008. Then, not surprisingly, he blew me off...so I proceeded to get drunk and text him, "Don't waste my time in 2009." Needless to say, not super appealing or attractive and that was pretty much the end of our relationship. But that did become my catchphrase for dating in the year of 2009, so I guess it was ok?

raised amongst catalogs

@princessS Holy crap, I also had rhyming dating catchphrases! Drama-free in 2003, Gettin' my kicks in 2006, etc.
A fun footnote to the story I told above: He gave me this heartfelt speech about how he just didn't have TIME, and that even if I lived next-door to him it would be too hard for him to make the time for a relationship with me. Then he married his next-door neighbor!

princessS

@vanillawaif Hilarious! I didn't this was a thing but it's so great I'm not alone! My friends have yet to let me live that infamous text message down.
Ahhhh dudes and their contradictions! He is (obviously) a juicebox who deserved that voicemail from you. Also, after I told that story to my boyfriend we tried brainstorming about a 2012 catchphrase but haven't come up with anything yet.

raised amongst catalogs

@princessS Nice & easy in twenty-tweezy?

emilylou

@vanillawaif I always make rhymes for years! We are cool!

Last year was "Finding heaven in 20-eleven" (which shockingly did not come true). I also sometimes make peppy rhymes for my age, such as last year's "Stay alive at 25" and believe it or not, that one was fulfilled.

Now I'm 26 and all the friends who know I make rhyme slogans have lots of dick joke suggestions for me. I have yet to pick an official slogan yet.

pixieg

@princessS
Won't be shelved in 2012? I think delve and shelve are the only words that rhyme :(

City_Dater

Have you taught your daughter to make absolutely adorable faces at the camera whenever her photo is taken? Because she does and that is probably something you should take credit for.

And board games at parties are the worst. It's a way to get people who aren't really friends and maybe shouldn't be spending time together to "enjoy each others company" without actual conversation.

Julie the T

@City_Dater I don't know what kind of laboratory-strict conditions you've played board games in before, but generally, if the people like each other and want to hang out, there's a lot of conversation/banter/what-have-you that goes on AROUND the game itself that is a lot of fun. Unless you're implying that anyone who's ever played board games with other people has chosen to do so only in the company of people they "aren't really friends" with...which seems kinda nutty.

Jane Err

"I only do good things for the credit, and worry that I might become a spree killer in a cultural vacuum."

Word.

Infinite Jess

@Jane Err Yeah, totes. I usually get this feeling when watching/reading a fictional character who is supposed to be a Bad Person and cheering for them every time they totally use shadowy means to take advantage of a situation for their own benefit. Your sociopath character is my Trickster character! Or, I am a sociopath. Or, I was raised by the cultural West.

Michelle LeBlanc@twitter

"I secretly worry that all I really want to do is watch Doctor Who and lie on my couch re-reading YA fiction."
Ahem, Yup, except it's less worry and more am resigned to knowing?

Ophelia

@Michelle LeBlanc@twitter I am in London this week (so thinking about Dr. Who a lot anyway), and today I walked by a truck that had TARDIS printed on it. It was great! I googled, and apparently it's a truck brand.

BeebsLaRue

@Michelle LeBlanc@twitter I actually copied this line while I was reading the post so I could paste it in a comment and shout in all caps "YES! THIS! THIS IS ME!" I'm so glad I'm not alone.

Also, Pete's Dragon. I watched it about 1000 times between the ages of 10-11. I would act out the part of Pete along with the movie. My parents thought I was...odd? Let's go with odd.

craygirl

@BeebsLaRue re: Pete's Dragon - I did the same! I think my parents know all the words just through osmosis from it being on 24/7. Buying it on DVD is probably the best investment I've made as an adult!

pixieg

@Ophelia You can go and see a TARDIS at BBC Television Centre in White City now that you're in London!

Scarlettb

@Michelle LeBlanc@twitter Hey, there is NOTHING WRONG with wanting to just watch Doctor Who and read YA novels. Doctor Who is all about tolerance and the triumph of intellect and love. YA novels often deal with real issues! And also, doing things that are fun is fun! And fun is good!

EpWs

Your daughter has The Eyebrows, she will be fine.

Decca

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher Seriously. I'm wicked jealous of your baby's eyebrows! My own eyebrows are pathetic - so light you can barely seem them. Every now and then I'll get them tinted, the stylist will invariably make them overly dark and I'll mope around for the rest of the day doing half-hearted Joan Crawford impressions to hide my shame.

wharrgarbl

@Decca That probably cannot compare to the time I tinted my brows to match what turned out to be a phenomenally ridiculous shade of red and then it would. not. fade. for a week.

entangled

"I write constantly about HAES and fat acceptance but wig my shit out if I gain three pounds."

I can totally feel you on this one (though I threw my scale out years ago so instead the bad days are full of paranoia that my pants are ever so slightly imperceptibly tighter). As much as I truly, truly believe in intuitive eating and set points and exercise as its own goal and all of that... I'm still not there yet at self-acceptance (or oftentimes, I'm there... but not there enough that I could gain weight and stay there). I hate that, but I know I'm still a happier, healthier person (and less of a jerk) than I was when I was obsessed with calories and judgment and trying to fit myself and everyone else into some inflexible ideal. It's taken years to get this far so I imagine it may take even longer to get rid of the last bits of mental baggage.

Oh, and I imagine that being around a mother who believes in HAES and body acceptance will be very good for your daughter in the years to come.

Decca

Court and Spark > Blue.

acid burn

@Decca NUH UH. Court and Spark is for when you have the crazysads, Blue is for when you have the happysads. They are both genius and perfect and make you cry in TOTALLY DIFFERENT WAYS.

raised amongst catalogs

@Decca Can we just talk about how great "Car on a Hill" can be? The spring day that it first becomes warm enough to open the windows in the house, that's the song I always, always want to hear.

ru_ri

@Decca Shadows and Light > everything, ever.

Apocalypstick

Yes I want to watch Dr Who and read YA novels forever. At what age are we meant to pretend to normal people that we don't read YA? Cos it's really fun and I don't wanna stop.

Also, who the hell plays board games at parties? Board games are for killing time with your family. Parties are for getting silly with your friends. I would be very disturbed if someone broke out the Monopoly with people they actually got on with.

City_Dater

@Apocalypstick

Thank you! There's something so sad about being invited to a "party" and finding out that instead of music, dancing, and amusing conversation, we are actually going to choose up teams for a Connect Four tournament. Who raised these people, Parker Brothers?

She Saved The World, Alot

@Apocalypstick Well....Monopoly and Connect Four are weird party boardgames, and people get weirdly mean about Monopoly...Pictionary is fun, though, especially when combined with alcohol and charades. And I'm partial to Apples to Appels but I kinda dont wanna admit it now! Because ya'll are SCARY!

EpWs

@She Saved The World, Alot Hello I am a socially awkward person at times and do best when I have a task even at parties so yes BOARD GAMES AT PARTIES FOREVER. As long as your fellow partiers are, you know, down with that.

She Saved The World, Alot

@The Everpresent Wordsnatcher I mean my favorite type of parties are dinner parties where everyone just sits around talking and laughing and eating and playing games. (Not cards, though, because I suck at cards). And silly-making games like Pictionary are the best! And yeah, I like to have a task too, especially when it's a larger group, because otherwise I let the more dominant personalities chatter and shout and kinda just...sit there watching like a lump?

I prefer smaller parties with closer friend :)

She Saved The World, Alot

@She Saved The World, Alot *friends! With an S! I have more than one friend!

noReally

Oh Honey.

It's not just whether she'll turn out just like you, it's whether your various warts will make her much, much worse. My mother was a relatively patient person. My natural inclination is to start yelling the first time I have to repeat something. Will I turn my child into a quivering puddle, like a dog that gets yelled at all the time? I spend a lot of energy trying to counteract this.

And while we're having this conversation, Nicole, all I ever needed to know about child rearing I learned from various horse trainers: As soon as they submit, you soften. When you're barking about get up and put on your clothes, you can't stay mad until they've actually finished. You have to start telling them they're great as soon as they stand up. Reinforce the first little bit of cooperation. This totally works.

iceberg

@noReally ooh that's good!

laurel

@noReally Works with dogs too.

SarahP

Your daughter's little face! Her little hand, waving at us! I DIE.

punkahontas

@SarahP I know, she's totally like "Whassup, Hairpin?!"

Faintly Macabre

@SarahP I want her to go on a tour of Pinups so I can pinch her cheeks!

bitzy

@punkahontas I audibly squealed and said "Well hello there, tiny baby!" when she popped up.

madamvonsassypants

@bitzy I hope for your sake that wasn't at work in front of others.

Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook

I think you nailed it in the last paragraph. My baby is already 6 years old and every day I see more of myself in her. I see her spacing out in the middle of the soccer field and I think, hey, that's just like me! I did that when I was her age! I still do that! And thus circle right back to myself. FAIL.

And yet not. I think one of great opportunities in parenting is to learn to make that separation. It's true: she may, like me, totally lack the gene for innate coolness. In addition to all the cute and awesome stuff she does because she's six, she may occasionally be a total spaz. Like me. But if I step aside and take myself out of the equation, I can acknowledge stuff without judgment. And if I can do that with her, maybe I can start doing that with myself. Maybe?

yamtoes

@Harriet Kierkegaard@facebook This comment gives me hope. Thanks.

MrComment

I'm pretty sure a Skinner Box would fix 90% of this.

olivebee

I have always been firmly in the position that I am going to adopt my children one day (not for physical reasons...I just think there are way too many family-less children out there), and my husband is totally on board. Though this probably won't be for another 10 years or so because we need to save up the ridiculous amount it costs to adopt, so this is a far away worry, but anyway.

There are so many "negative" things about me that I fear my children will inherit like neuroticism, over-sensitivity, impatience, constant worry, etc etc. But I don't know how much of that stuff will be avoided by not having genetically-related children or how much will rub off on them by virtue of the parent-child relationship. I am EXACTLY like my mother and wish I wasn't because she is always just such a friggin' downer, but I have no idea what I got from her nature-ly vs. nurture-ly, and I, more than anything, don't want to pass it on to my future adopted children.

So are there any 'pinners out there who have experience with adoption...whether the adopter or adoptee, and how much are you like or not like your parent/child? I realize this is simply a matter of case studies and not scientific at all, but I'm just asking out of curiosity (that stems from worry....ugh, I'm such a worrier).

redheaded&crazy

@olivebee "neuroticism, over-sensitivity, impatience, constant worry,"

oh jeez. hello twin.

except that i always listed those in my "positives" column along with "delusions of grandiosity"

olivebee

@redheaded&crazy Hahah, hello! I put quotes around negative because those qualities do come in handy a lot of the time...I'm never unprepared for something, that's for sure. But, I always just feel like people go "wah, wahhh" behind my back (though I'd like to think I'm a more pleasant party guest than Rachel Dratch's Debbie Downer. No talk of feline leukemia here!).

NeverOddOrEven

@olivebee My sister and brother-in-law just started the adoption process, and if you don't do a private adoption it's not very expensive at all (comparatively). The state (here anyway) reimburses a lot of the costs.

But obviously this route presents a completely different set of challenges and circumstances so, to each their own.

null

@olivebee My co-worker adopted her daughter from China and she insists that she is exactly like her husband personality wise. I myself was adopted by my grandparents and have had a handful of interactions with my bio mom so I know that I have personality traits of both, but I'm also very much my own person. It'll all turn out ok! That you're thinking about this is a good sign, but don't be too hard on yourself. You're going to have lots of less than perfect moments when parenting, just like your own parents probably did, but that's part of being a human. Pass the tissues, we all got issues.

j-bird

@olivebee I am adopted, and although people (especially people who are parents) disagree with me on this, I am all for the "nature" side of things. I am in contact with my birth mother regularly now and have been for a few years. We are uncannily similar! We are both creative and very caring. I always felt distinctly different from my parents; they are mathematical thinkers - efficient and on time - I am artsy, messy and late. I think "nurture" was important in that I had a really safe environment to grow up in, as opposed to my birth mother's more unpredictable life. I was also fortunate to grow up with a father who supported emotionally and put my education first.

In my adult life I feel like my personality and choices have a lot to do with my "nature". The environment I grew up in was a safe place for my "nature" to develop in the best possible ways, but it is not the source of my personality traits.

But who really knows? It's different from child to child. As far as passing things along, I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's a toss up, and just do the best you can to be self aware about your own faults. Don't beat yourself up over them, but recognize them and try to work on them.

Does that make any sense? These things are hard to explain.

olivebee

@j-bird @klaus Thanks so much for sharing! It's nice to hear this kind of stuff because I don't personally know anyone over the age of 4 who is adopted (or at least who talks openly about it), and I don't know anyone else who wants to adopt, so I often feel kind of alone in my thoughts, fears, and curiosities about what my future may hold. So anyways, thank you!

Neve Garrett

Clearly you are an awesome mama. I wish our babies could party together (sans board games, obvs.)

Daisy Razor

I worried for two years that I was using the baby as an excuse not to work, now I'm working three days a week and worrying I'm using work as an excuse to get away from the baby. So...it never ends, basically! (The baby spends the three days with her bestie and couldn't care less that I'm gone, of course.)

bangs
bangs

Honestly one of my proudest moments is successfully driving with a boat trailer. But the rest of my "things" are very similar. See, I just made this about myself.

Nicole Cliffe

FULL DISCLOSURE: I just got my full driver's license half an hour ago, and have already emailed Edith and Jane to brag about it.

entangled

@Nicole Cliffe Congratulations!

Tulletilsynet

@arrr starr
Nicole, are you absolutely sure about the part about "the minute state law allows"?

SarahP

@Nicole Cliffe NICE! Congrats!

Roxy Throatpunch

@Nicole Cliffe You are an inspiration. I am 31, my daughter is about to turn one, and I am still license-free. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP.

Congratulations!

D.@twitter

@Tulletilsynet Yeah. I mean, if the age limit is 18, that's one thing, but most teenagers shouldn't be driving cars. My parents wouldn't let me have a car before then. Nor was I allowed to drive w/ any of my 16-yr-old friends. I resented it at the time, but I see now what a good idea it was (and knew several people in a relatively small high school who died/got seriously injured in car accidents).

madgemmc

@Nicole Cliffe yay you- i am full of the driving love. I PASSED MY DRIVING TEST THIS MONTH at the age of 28 1/2 and if i could go back in time to my 17 year old self i would INSIST that i learn how to drive, rather than pretend i need to study for my A-levels as much as i did. seriously, WAY hard and WOAH expensive at this age.

also, at this ripe age, i am now well aware that i could legitimately and accidentally KILL someone on the road. and am afraid to drive.

but YAY you. (and me also a bit, although that has worn off now)

Speaking of cake, I have cake

@Roxy Throatpunch Not too far from you - 29 and only now learning properly. Put it off for years cos its so scary! But the freedoms it gives does eventually outweigh the fear, and the fact that all my friends are driving too pushed me on - I feel bad depending on everyone for lifts. It's taking ages though, it really doesn't come naturally to me. And I wish I l was from a country that used cars with automatic gearboxes! Stick just adds 300% more complication to an already insanely multitasking process

oh, disaster

Oh goodness, that baby is gorgeous.

Lisa_RedRowFarm

It only gets worse when they get old enough to start acting in ways you remember having acted as a child. My husband stares at his son in disbelief of how absurdly identical they are. Watching them out stubborn one another is like watching someone having a staring contest with the mirrow, and the boy is only three. We are all wonderful, terrible parents.

Kristen

Nicole, I would read your novel! Even if it sounded exactly like Robertson Davies, I would still read it, and I bet I would love it, but I bet it sounds like some crazy mix between you and Robertson Davies and I would love it even more.

ru_ri

If wanting to do nothing but lie on your couch watching Dr. Who and rereading YA fiction is wrong, I don't want to be right. (Not that I do it, mind you, but I certainly would love to.)
Also: Pork Lips Now > Apocalypse Now. (Having never seen it, I am not sure where Pete's Dragon would fit into that equation.)

Also: Congratulations on the driving license! Next: Motorcycle permit?

Marzipan

When I am looking through photo albums, I’m most interested in looking at pictures of myself. I hate when people talk about cars, buying things, fixing things, or other tedious topics that I don’t care about. Watching the super bowl last month was 4 of the most unpleasant, boring hours of my year so far. I really want to get into a fistfight. I used to like writing, and then I realized I wasn’t amazing at it, and that most of my enthusiasm for writing was narcissism about the recognition. I don’t want to have kids, and it’s because I’m equal parts lazy, selfish, and cowardly. I’d prefer to be the less attractive one in a relationship; because it turns out I’m really quite superficial. I get so pissed when guys say that periods are gross, but I really DO think they are gross, I’m just mad guys get to say that when I’m the one bleeding out of my vagina.

AND...I don't actually wish these things about me were different. I actually like these things about myself, mostly.

She Saved The World, Alot

@Marzipan I do the same thing with the photo albums and tedious topics (my mind actually wanders when people are talking to me, in a really obvious way. I thought I was good at hiding it, but a friend said to me the other day "you're not even listening to me, are you?" Granted, she's also a coworker, and was talking about work thigns, at work, and just...ugh. I love 'er, but I'd rather read the Hairpin than talk about work things at work). I still like writing, but I can't DO IT because every time I write something, I get 2 or 3 sentences in and I have to stop because I'm not that good either. In college, while I majored in writing, I tried to be all boho-poet-fiction-geek but really I think I'm pretty ordinary.

I want to have kids, but if I have a daughter I think I would spend a good amount of time wondering/worrying if my future-daughter prettier than me.
I would never ever admit to being the less attractive one in the relationship.

Periods ARE gross ugh (I have the worst first-period-off-birth-control cramps and back pain right now.)

tl;dr I like these things about myself too (except for the worrying my future-daughter will be prettier than me thing, because I think that's fairly repulsive Evil Queen trait). Flaws make for good characters. Now if I could just write a good character!

jules

Astronaut Mike Dexter FTW

MeghanElizabeth

Work on your novel! I love Robertson Davies.

atipofthehat

A Flower Given To My Daughter

Frail the white rose and frail are
Her hands that gave
Whose soul is sere and paler
Than time’s wan wave.

Rosefrail and fair—yet frailest
A wonder wild
In gentle eyes thou veilest,
My blueveined child.

—James Joyce

melis

"Guhh, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad."

-James Joyce's kid

tortietabbie

That baby is totally like, "Mom, I'm fat and happy and you're doing great."

whizz_dumb

"a terrible shot"? Poor aim, for shame.

ipomoea

Nicole, congrats and welcome to my parenting life: "Is it bad if Gabe's seen all of doctors 9-11 by the time he's eight months old? Does it count as parenting if I lay down in baby jail with him and look at Tumblr on my phone? Will I permanently warp him with my weird devotion to early-90s rap in the car? Should I be taking him out to play in the park even though it's only 45F outside and oh god what if I'm just making him into a babyslug?"

But DUH it's totally fine if you've seen Pete's Dragon 1000 times. It's only a problem if you refuse to show it to your child. How else will she be properly embarrassed when you sing her "Candle on the Water"?

raised amongst catalogs

@ipomoea I...I...I forgot how much I loved that song. I forgot about its very existence. Now I'm all wrapped up in Feelings, at work.

VolcanoMouse

Nicole, I am SO EXCITED that you mentioned-- nay, that you are aware of the existence of-- Emily Starr. Better an Emily than an Anne, amirite?

eustaceia

@VolcanoMouse WORD that's what I came here to comment about! I love those books so much- I srsly reread them piecemeal monthly at least.

VolcanoMouse

@eustaceia HEY! We are now friends (whether you like it or not-- sorry?)! I think I would like Emily best for a daughter, but I would perhaps prefer post-independence Valancy for a buddy.

Vera Knoop

This is EXACTLY the internal monologue I have when my partner and I talk about kids. The only differences are that I'm 31 and still don't have a driver's license, and I'm way too lazy/squeamish to be a spree killer of any kind.

redheaded&crazy

it's not that i'm a horrible gossip. it's just that i'm horrible at keeping secrets, especially juicy ones.

TELL ME EVERYTHING.

elsbels

But, People's Parties has to be about me! Also, the part about you wanting to do nothing but watching Doctor Who made me so happy, because lately I've been thinking that I should become a mom so that I would care about something more important than wanting to lie on the couch watching Doctor Who all the time.

GertyFlint

"I secretly worry that all I really want to do is watch Doctor Who and lie on my couch re-reading YA fiction."

This is all I want to do. Seriously. I was all yes, Dr. Who BUT ALSO REREADING YA!!!

(longtime lurker, brought into comments solely because of this).

wharrgarbl

I find myself unable to shake the mental image of a serial killer in a coffee shop somewhere with their sympathetic friends going "I just don't understand why this is so hard? I mean, everybody else manages to make it home from the grocery store without murdering someone! Everyone! It can't be as complicated as I'm making it! It just, like, can't be. If it was, new parents and law students and swing-shifters would be almost as bad as me, if only from fatigue. It's just me, and that one creepy guy from the gas station, and I don't even think he's as bad about this as I am. You know, the last time we ran into each other at the corpse-dump site? He shook his head when he thought I wasn't looking. I think he's judging me. He thinks he's better than me. I'm going to fucking murder him. Oh, god, there I go again! What's wrooooooong with meeeeeeeeeeeee?"

sparrow303

@wharrgarbl Like that girl on My Super Weird Addiction Whatever Show-- the one that eats toilet paper compulsively: "You can't -ever- get away from toilet paper!"

Oh, squiggles

That baby is too cute. Seriously. Those big eyes, and happy grin. Ugh, I'm all melty! She is my kryptonite.

sheistolerable

You write about HAES? Where? I'm always up for another good FA blog, even from someone who freaks out when she gains three pounds : )

brigid j barry@twitter

It is amazing how much I love Nicole's posts about her baby and motherhood, considering that I have hated almost everything else I have read on the internet about babies. Good job, Ms Cliffe!

gfrancie

Lady. You are invited to my house for tea and cake ANY time. For you get it.

tee
tee

NICOLE. I always wanted to be/have the cosmic lovechild of Pippi Longstocking and Lyra Belacqua and Emily Starr. You are a kindred spirit.

tideturns

"I only enjoy parties if I have Klonopin" +134,340,030

j-LoPez

really this good idea.
this site very good quality.
thank you all.
Bedava Oyun Oyna

Zeki Yol@facebook

great work, thank you. i always follow web sites. thanks for sharing. Fıkra .

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