Archive for June, 2013

Three things

There are several things on my mind today, but I’ll bore you with only three of them.

One, today I saw something really baffling. First, let me say that it really bugs me when a parent is biking along with their child and the child is all helmet-ed up, but the parent is sans protection. For a lot of people, this is annoying because of the message it sends to the kid: when you’re old enough you, too, can choose to be an enormous idiot. And that message bugs me, too. But the bigger thing that bugs me — because, frankly, the message that adults can make choices that kids can’t is valid — is that it is a colossally dumb plan. What happens when you get hit by a car, parent? You’ve crashed and hit your head. Sure, your kid is fine. Except that she has a parent with a head injury (or is – God forbid – dead) that could have been easily avoided. Anyway, now for the even weirder behavior. Today I saw a man biking with a girl in the attached bike trailer. The girl looked about three. Maybe four. And guess what was on her head? Nothing! No helmet! Please PLEASE explain this. Actually, please don’t. I don’t want to know.

Two, (and this is completely unrelated) I saw this Kotex commercial last night that was sort of making fun of other tampon commercials. This young woman said to the camera, “How do I know if a tampon works for me? If I see a commercial with a woman dancing in circles.” Or something like that. And it was heavy with hilarious sarcasm. So the commercial then says something like, “Try our tampons. Try them for yourself. We are not pushing them in any annoying way. No gimmicks. Just try them. If you don’t love them, we’ll give you another box for free.” Uh, what? If I don’t love them … I get more of them? I’d rather just see the woman dancing.

Three, (and again, not related) Bear and I went to Target this morning because I decided I needed to suck it up and buy her a doll. She loves the dolls at day care and while I see this in her face, it never really occurred to me I needed to do something about it. And then yesterday, when we were at a friend’s house and Bear was playing with all of the little girl’s dolls, it hit me: Bear needs, and deserves, a doll. So, at 9:30 this morning, we headed to Target. I also needed some microfiber cloths to clean that damn smudge off my camera lens, FYI. We tool around the doll aisle and she alternates between jubilation and fear, which I think will seem very honest to you if you’ve seen that aisle. Anyway, fast forward to the check-out line. We place ourselves behind a couple and their son, who looks about Bear’s age. The woman leaves as if to go look for something else (though she does not return in my story and really is a red herring in this tale). The boy is being held by his dad and is looking sorta old mannish and worried; his brow is furrowed. When it’s their time to check out, the check out clerk coos over the boy. She says, “What’s your name?” and “He’s so cute!” I kinda think she’s laying it on a little thick. I mean, the kid is cute because he’s a little kid, but he’s not the kind of kid that makes people ooo and ahh. Unless maybe you’re the type of person that ooos and ahhs over every kid. Which she must be, right? Then she amps it up even more, asking the boy if he’d like a sticker. She holds the sticker out to him, gently, patiently, kindly. The kid takes the sticker. The clerk is glowing. Glowing, that is, until we start the check out process. Then it’s all, “Do you need a bag for this?” That’s. It. No, “How old is she?” No, “What’s her name?” Certainly no, “She’s so cute!” And absolutely no sticker transaction. I put on a brave face for Bear, of course, but Dear Reader, what the what was that? How. Rude.


We’re back!

And look who got herself all turned around!


Border town

Our first night.



And away we go!


The backward-facing voters win! For now …

Car seat changes

We’re thinking about changing Bear’s car seat. She’s 22 pounds now, and 30 inches, and she’s just starting to look a little ridiculous in the thing. According to the specs, she can safely be in it up to 35 pounds (zoinks!) but no more than 32 inches, so we’re getting close to the max.

Here she is in July. In her car seat. On the dining room table.

Happy bear by Kate and Gracie

Bear in her car seat

Here she is this morning. She looked down as soon as I snapped the pic.

Bear in her car seat

Bear in her car seat

As I think even this dark and grainy picture shows, she’s quite a bit bigger. And very close to the top. So, yes, I think we need to make a change. We need to get the so-called convertible seat. Does it come with a top that you can take down? No, but it can be backward-facing or forward-facing. Voila! Way cooler than an actual convertible.

This leads me to discuss the backward-facing nature of Bear’s life thus far. Backward, backward, backward. The current recommendation – changed in about March 2011, as far as I can tell – is that baby bears ride backward until they are two years old. It all has to do with their itty bitty neck muscles and their gigantic melonheads. Anyway, I had just assumed that we would follow this recommendation, as we did with having Bear sleep in a crib without a blanket or toys, on her back, and as uncomfortable as possible. But recently, my mind has begun to wander into the “What if?” arena.

In early May, after the Lake Monona 5k, Dr. Heather gave Bear and me a ride to her house to get out of the rain. Bear rode in Lucifer’s forward-facing car seat. You read that right. She rode forward-facing for almost four miles with top speeds probably pushing 30 miles per hour. She was elated. She had a very goofy grin on her face and I worried she would protest her return to backward-facing life the next time we tried it. But she didn’t; she went back to her second-class life without protest. Anyway, I didn’t think much of it, except to look forward to March 2014. But then a very responsible-seeming parent at Bear’s day care said she was switching her tiny peanut of a daughter to forward-facing when she turned one (which was Monday). Eeks! I instantly thought she was the coolest mom at the center (breezing easily past the woman who looks like a supermodel, must stand at six feet tall, is super nice and has popped out three kids while still looking like she gets a breathtaking amount of sleep). Then, this past weekend I asked my friend Stephanie what she did with her littlest one, who is now 18 months old. She, too, said, “Oh yeah, we turned him around.” Whoah. This was getting serious. Now I had two women telling me they looked that judgmental recommendation in the eye, stared it down, and walked away with a forward-facing child. I was so impressed.

So, I started talking about it. And mentioned it to AO. And talked about it some more.* And then I dared to say it out loud. At work yesterday. To the woman who always refers to herself as A Mom. To the woman whose poor child has a congenital heart defect. To the woman whose poor child with the congenital heart defect has had one billion surgeries. To the woman whose poor surgery-laden congenital heart defect child now has been diagnosed with autism. Oy. I think you can see where this is going. I was not met with applause, encouragement or a pat on the back. I was instead met with information on Bear’s itty bitty neck muscles. And how backward-facing life really is the best kind of life. When I tried to explain that we’re about to go on a very long road trip, I was met with a slight nod, followed by a look that said, “That’s why she should be in the safest possible position.” Hard to argue with that look. So I guess it’s a backward-facing world for awhile longer.

*Let’s be clear: the “talk” going on is between my ears.

June 2013

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