Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Heart Stain

Heart-shaped baby-poop stain from


A few interesting articles I saw online today on
Motherhood and depression, An interview with Tracy Thompson
Keys to becoming a positive person
Respectful child discipline starts with the parent

Regarding this last one, resisting power plays with my children is something with which I often struggle. I guess I was raised with pretty traditional discipline; we were spanked when appropriate, but not overly so and we knew we were loved. Yet I know that I have power issues. It angers me, I feel, too quickly, when I am defied by my kids too often or with attitude. I WANT to wield my power over them, to bend them to my will, maybe even occasionally to break their spirit.  Isn't that awful? Why? I'm not sure. If it were someone else, I'd say this behavior indicates someone who does not feel in control of their own life and has a psychological need to see themselves as being in control, with defiance threatening to expose their actual lack of control and therefore threatening the self.

But, why would I not be in control?  It's not like I live in North Korea, right?  My husband and I  moved back East after he finished his degree in order to be close to parents who needed care... but I think I wanted to do that, to get back home. I wasn't abandoning any dream of being somewhere else. At one time, I did feel very ashamed of how long it took from initial dating until finally marrying my husband (8 years), and that it was I waiting on him year after year to propose.... This involved a distinct period of feeling powerlessness at the time, but I pretty much never think about it any more.  And of course I ultimately could have left, but I chose not to do that:  again, not powerless.

My mom had MS, another thing I couldn't control, but it was normal to me and not anything I ever struggled against.  It was hard to witness her decline, so I guess there was a certain powerlessness there, but again, I didn't and don't ruminate on it.

I am overweight, but I don't really feel powerless against that.

I have sometimes felt angry at having anxiety and depression when pretty much all of my friends do not have this complication.

I am quite competitive and it does irk me when I see people who have simply had more fortunate circumstances, but isn't that normal?

I have had complexion issues since the 5th grade, which continue and make me very frustrated because all this was supposed to be OVER by now, dammit!  This problem along with reactions to topical medications that caused redness and peeling did definitely mold my self image and sense of worth. I wore nothing without a crew neckline (except for two strapless formal dresses about which I was very self conscious) until I was 33 and was forced into scoop necklines by the maternity-wear industry.  Anyway, in school I was convinced my complexion was to blame for my obvious invisibility to boys despite my athletic build.  I blamed missing my Junior Prom on this as well.

Even when I did date, pursuing someone who would have rather been left alone but was doomed by his being the first male ever to pay me a compliment, I accepted the role of the one pleading for attention way way way more often than feeling I had any power. Beggars can't be choosers, right?  I went from a first love with whom I was not to admit in public that we were dating and with whom there were to be absolutely no public displays of affection, to someone I loved but was too mentally messed-up to react to properly and who eventually got me to break up with him because he was cheating and wanted out. From there to someone who saw me as a conquest and who never called again after there was no challenge and who enjoyed bragging about that to mutual friends who seemed to coincidentally become distant; then to an embarrassing hook-up with a friend who then also dropped off the map; and finally to a good but very platonic friend who pushed his crush on me to fruition and eventually love and marriage (but not until after cheating and reversing the pursuit so that I was again the one waiting for a decision to be passed upon me).

Now THAT'S a lot of perceived powerlessness, but would it really manifest itself as needing to be "she-who-must-be-obeyed?"   Maybe, I guess. I do still feel knots in my stomach when thinking about these relationships, though that is as things are for me with any past pain, I relive it rather than remember it. It is getting less vivid, but it's taken 20 years and I can still cry over a first love despite now completely understanding the circumstances I was too naive to acknowledge back then.

My Dad always said I was too sensitive, too emotional. I think that it is simply that the first experiences of love seared themselves so strikingly on my brain that they're like the poop stains on white baby onesies---those suckers will never come out completely no matter what you do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

One Naton ... Indivisable

Wow this scares and saddens me.  There are no atheist patriots?!
What about Buddhist? Hindu? Zoroastrian? Sikh? Native American Religions?
I can't write much because it is already late and I promised I'd get to bed by now, but I just wanted to mention something I experienced in the last day or so.  I got into a "discussion" on Facebook with a friend and her friends over the "under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Apparently a student somewhere refused to stand for the Pledge as a protest over that and my friend went off on how disrespectful she felt that was and how angry she was about it.  I'll put my responses below, just FYI.  A friend of my friend chimed in that the student and her parents who raised her so badly could/should be shipped off to some other country.

I was just very struck at how differently these people felt and thought from myself.  I guess I spend a lot of my time sort of assuming that I'm in the midst of people who are more tolerant than this.  Our discussion was respectful of each other, but not of the subject, her parents, or actions.  I think part of my quandary is that I am so reluctant to feel certain that I am correct about something.  I always feel like there's some part that I don't understand and try to reserve judgement, which tends to preclude anger.  I don't mean I do this as an intentional gesture of leniency or whatever, I just feel so incompetent about so much that I don't consider myself to be in a position to say anything.  I am learning this is not how everyone feels.  Some are very confident they are correct.

(2014 note: I see here that I used the word Federal in discussing public schools, which are of course state institutions. Oops. Read Federal as Government)

So, initial rant from friend...and a warning that as usual, I'm a bit verbose.  Grab a snack & beverage.
  •  Although, the flag stands for a country where that girl has the right to do that and her parents have the right to teach them to do it. Ironic...

  • Julia K Burzon Actually, I strongly object to social pressure to acquiesce to the "under God" part too. Not sure I have the guts to stand up for it. They may be putting their respect for military sacrifice 2nd to the right to be free of religious coercion in tax-funded institutions, something the sacrifices were made for....
    Reiteration from friend and more vehement agreement from her friend that they are offended and that the action shows disrespect to the flag and those who fought and died for our country.  Assertion that she should stand and just not say the offending words if necessary, but that she must stand or she is disrespecting the flag/country/military/sacrifices of military families, etc.  Invitation for the student & family to relocate.
  • Julia K Burzon Sure, she doesn't have to say it, but she shouldn't, especially as a child, be put in a position of having to appear to be disrespectful in order to boldly object to the inclusion of religious language in a seemingly mandatory group exercise in a Federal institution (vs. not being noticed not saying those two words) either. Burning a Bible, Koran, Torah, Sutra, or whatever seems a lot more extreme than choosing not to stand. I don't think she would be allowed to do that as any kind of protest in a Federal area. (?) What if doing THAT [burning a holy text] were added to the pledge because it was politically advantageous? I'm sure we'd see some vehement sitting then, regardless of the implied disrespect to the military! ha ha or What if the wording were "NOT under any gods" instead? I bet that would achieve the same result and there wouldn't be much arguing about how disrespectful it seems to the military. It seems easier to ask a minority to stand mute while the majority observes its religion as part of such a group exercise.

    Hmmm....I think the problem is the ambiguity of the action of not standing. It can be interpreted as disrespect for the believers of the religion or the military in the case of the pledge, even if the intention is not disrespect, but simply to draw attention to the need for separation of church and state. Wasn't the "under God" part was only added in the 50s (40s?) to further differentiate us from the communists anyway? Why can't it be let go? Why won't it be let go? It shouldn't be there at all. I think it's unconscionable to place a child in the position of having to appear for all practical purposes to endorse a religious statement in a Federal institution. I think some other means of patriotic veneration could easily be substituted for the pledge until the issue is resolved, not that anyone would do that.

    Julia K Burzon Ooooh! Competing soapboxes! :) Sorry. Didn't mean to rant at your rant. I just don't like my kids being in this position either, as I'm not raising them with a religion.
    A different friend added her two cents in a very diplomatic way.
  •  Julia K Burzon So refreshing to have an intelligent, respectful conversation on a touchy topic!
    Concessions that the student does indeed have the right to stand or sit, but given with the caveat that they retain their right to be be offended, which I do not dispute.  But further, insistence that the student IS being disrespectful, i.e. that their interpretation of the student's action is correct and that any other is not really acceptable, or rather that then I guess I am worthy of judgement too.  Maybe that wasn't intended, but that's how I felt.  I felt that by defending the action as acceptable protest that I was rendering myself as worthy of contempt as the protestor and her irresponsible parents.

    Julia K Burzon Please know that I'm not trying to antagonize anyone. I'd written too much twice and deleted the posts. ;) But anyway, my main points were: The principles the US was founded on go back to the Code of Hammurabi and are not only Judeo-Christian. Some of our most prominent forefathers were adamant about not having religion as part of the US government, including Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton. I think there's evidence that Washington wasn't even a practicing Christian, not that it matters. I keep being told how the US was founded as a Christian nation and it really grates on me because it isn't true.

    I am confused about your interpretation of separation of church and state as not meaning you can't combine the two. Isn't keeping gods out of the government and its institutions is EXACTLY the point? I am curious as to whether you would feel as offended by anyone refusing to stand for if the pledge were worded "one nation under The Prophet Muhhamed, peace be upon him,"? or under Zeus? or Vishnu? This kid isn't paying to go to a religious school of a different subgroup than his/her own. People of all and no religions are paying for the public schools to teach the nation's children reading, math, science, history (i.e. secular subjects). I have no objection to discussion and explanation of religion as part of any of those classes.

    I think you'll find this article in Wikipedia interesting. According to it, students can not be made to stand for the pledge according to the Supreme Court. If this is so, his objection to the wording of the pledge via sitting is his right under the the First Amendment of the constitution the flag represents and for which our relatives and forefathers fought (It's not like I have no connection here, I have relatives going back to the revolution and who fought in at least the War of 1812 [we have his sword---SO COOL!], Civil War, and Korea and maybe more). I disagree that exercising this right shows disrespect, but assert it is merely nonparticipation. Offense is premature. We cannot know he is not venerating the flag and the military that protects our nation in his heart and simply not standing as an objection to under-God thing. Yes, I get that THIS is what offends you. He should stand anyway (and stifle his objection to the unconstitutionality of his situation?). Obviously you have every right to your opinions and feelings. But I question whose place is it to judge this person's quality of anyone's patriotism or to enforce that the only acceptable way to show it is to be part of a public demonstration. I kind of think this kind of issue applies to how Jesus said to pray in private (Matthew 6:6).

    In 1943 the Supreme Court reversed its decision, ruling in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that public school students are not required to say the Pledge, concluding that "compulsory unification of opinion" violates the First Amendment.[17] <b> In a later opinion, the Court held that students are also not required to stand for the Pledge. </b> [18]

    Requiring or promoting of the Pledge on the part of the government has drawn criticism and legal challenges on several grounds... One objection[19] states that a democratic republic built on freedom of dissent should not require its citizens to pledge allegiance to it, and that <b> the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects one's right to refrain from speaking or standing (also a form of speech).[18] Another objection lies in the fact that the people who are most likely to recite the Pledge every day, small children in schools, cannot really give their consent or even completely understand the Pledge they are taking. </b>[20]

    The introduction of "under God" in the 1950s was done during the Cold War, as a way to differentiate the U.S. from the concept of communist state atheism.[24]

    The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of loyalty to the...See More

    Julia K Burzon @Unnamed Aggressive Friend, I think you're missing the student's/parents point. I'm sure if the pledge were in its original form the kid would stand right up and so would the parents. If the pledge venerated some other god, would you feel standing and reciting all of it but "under Vishnu" or whatever was an acceptable amount of protest when your child had to hear everyone else say it as a group every day? Who are we to judge her patriotism? We don't know what she's thinking. You're really saying that if she doesn't show it in the way you think she should that she should be shipped out?

  • Julia K Burzon You'll like this.

    My friend reiterated that she was entitled to her opinion and that she felt it was disrespectful not to stand, that we would have to agree to disagree and that hers was to be "THE last post" in the thread.  She did acknowledge the girl had the right to sit or not and say the words or not, but again, she felt to sit was to disrespect veterans (at the very least).  Her friend agreed.  I let it go.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Page Added! For New Mothers

I just added a new page to the site (see tab upper right).  I've made a basket of all my "go-to" items for new mothers, excepting clothes and bibs.  Enjoy!  And leave comments if you have any questions or suggestions.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Retail Therapy?

My daughter spent most of our observation time (transit of Venus) playing with rocks. I leather bring home 3. Turns out one was really a clod of hard red clay. I didn't check. Today I find her rubbing and pounding the clay on the real seat that is exposed just to the outside of her carseat with one of the other rocks.

Consequently, we are now at the mall and the kids are in childcare for 2 hours to keep me from selling them. I bought myself the black Starbucks mug I've been coveting for 6 months and picked up the Springsteen and Johnny Cash CDs as well. They will be my summer CDs. I also weighed in 5 lbs heavier than I thought I was, hence the belligerent intake of iced lemon pound cake that I am planning with my chai in my shiny new mug. This after eating my AND my DAUGHTER'S medium waffle fries from Chic-fil-A with, count-em, FOUR servings of Chic-fil-A sauce. "Take that!" says my interior teen, angry and appalled at my physical condition and my age and at having to be a caregiver for others than herself. Take that, body. Take that, wallet. Betray me and you'll be sorry. I'll make you sorry.

What a brat she is. I need to put her in her place. I can always return the CDs... But can I resist the pound cake? Uncertain.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We saw it!

I took the kids to my husband's workplace and was able to view the transit of Venus across the sun with the telescopes of their astronomy club! It was very cloudy, but we were lucky enough to get a couple of breaks in the clouds. I was even able to take some photos with my iPad and then post them immediately to Facebook. Technology is so cool! What a time we live in!

New Page Coming Soon!

I am working on a new page of information for new mothers, putting down my favorite products and techniques for survival.  Check back soon!