Oral Hygiene Queen

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Location: Midwest, United States

I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A New York Minute

Time is going way too fucking fast. It’s been going a bit too fast most of my adult life. But then I had a kid, and it seemed to speed up. Now I have two kids, and it’s sped up more. When I mention this “Wow, it seems like time is going faster since Roo was born” phenomenon to people with older kids, they invariably say “Oh yeah. And just wait ‘til they’re both in school. Then it will really start flying by.” Please don’t say that. You’re scaring me.

Events that occur once weekly make me feel keenly the vertiginous speed of my life. My Saturday morning yoga class is here again. Wait. Head under knee over other knee. Wasn’t I just in this bizarre position a few days ago, on this very spot in this very yoga studio? Who is stealing days from my weeks? Where are they taking them, and can I have them back?

In the last few weeks I’ve realized the worst culprit in this time-stealing conspiracy is not my children, nor my weekly schedule. It’s the New Yorker. That’s right: Conde Nast is somehow making my already speedy life go by even faster.

My Old Man and I subscribe to more magazines than we should, but we tend to stick to monthlies. Except the New Yorker. It’s our only weekly, and it has always come once a week. Or less often. And this has always given me plenty of time to enjoy the magazine in the order I love to consume it: first, skim through and check out the cartoons; then read the light, short bits toward the front; then pick one of the longer essays and savor it in all its lavishly detailed and elegantly written glory. Then, if there’s time, maybe read the fiction.

Lately, though, the New Yorker has started arriving with fewer and fewer days separating the last issue and the new issue. Lately, I swear, it’s been coming every three days. I feel like I’m in my own private periodical Twilight Zone. Somehow, despite the fact he has the same number of children and other periodicals to deal with as me, my Old Man seems actually to read each issue as it comes down the pike. (He also manages to complete the Sunday Times crossword every week, while I, despite my perpetual promises to help him on those couple of tricky clues up in the right corner, never find a minute to so much as look at the thing.) Lately, this New Yorker onslaught has gotten so bad that I can’t even fucking keep up with the cartoons.

I have, however, found time to look at each and every cover. That will just have to satisfy me until the overachievers at Conde Nast return to their regular publication schedule.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Little Posts that Couldn't

It’s been two weeks since my last post (Bless me Father, for I have sinned), and for some reason two weeks seems like the longest I can go without my blog seeming abandoned. So I’m dragging myself over to my dashboard to click that “new post” button and try to work up some magic. Having a baby and being back at work full time, there’s just so little extra time and energy. I always feel like I’m a little behind at work. I always feel like I’m a little behind at home. (Where are those fairies )?) And now I’m feeling behind on my blog. I admit it. I’m blogging out of a sense of obligation.

But no, not entirely. Because so many cool little post ideas have come to me in the two weeks since I creamed my drawers (see below), and at various points in the last week I’ve been really excited about writing one of them. But I haven’t had an extra twenty minutes. Here’s a brief list of the germs of posts that have grabbed my coat, ridden around in my brain, but never had the luck to get any keyboard love. (My apologies to those germs of posts that came and went and have been totally forgotten.)

1. A post about the sentimentalization of babies: how it annoys me when people uses images of babies or the idea of babies to promote some program, position, or ideology that I mistrust, and yet how spending time with a baby makes me understand why people are prone to sentimentalizing these appealing, needy creatures whose crying we’re hardwired to find distressing and whose laughter we go great lengths to elicit, and who in a real sense personify innocence and trust.

2. A post about femininity and its discontents, inspired by Orange’s musings on Twisty’s post on the pitfalls of feminity. How extreme femininity of the kind Twisty excoriates is clearly problematic and limiting, but how for those of us who aren’t hobbling around in high heels 24-7, getting our breasts fashioned into flesh basketballs, or applying and scraping off inches of make-up daily, femininity is still a fraught terrain given that every choice we make related to personal style is coded either as feminine or masculine. And even though masculinity likes to sneakily pretend it’s invisible and merely human (rather than artificial, as so many aspects of femininity clearly are), it too is culturally constructed.

3. A post about teaching creative writing and how some days commenting on my students’ creative work is invigorating and I feel like I’m connecting with their writing on its own terms and giving them useful advice, while other days I’m saying something insipid and generic in order to avoid saying “This is lame. Write something better,” or (worse?) “This is great! Good job!”

Those are the ones I remember. And those are the short-term germs, whose neglect is less haunting than the several long posts I’ve been chewing on but not getting to (partly because there’s so much to say) about my two kids and their relationship to each other, my feelings about having two kids after agonizing over the decision of whether to have a second child, my gratefulness at my good relationship with my amazing mom, and my sadness at my broken relationship with my messed-up dad.

I sometimes toy with the idea of euthanizing this blog, simply due to the scarcity of time and personal resources in my current life. But clearly there’s a lot I want to say. And I sort of assume I’ll have a bit more time and a few more resources to do so at some point in the future. Summer is coming. Roo will continue to grow and develop and get less needy. Eventually both my children will go to college. Stay tuned. (And let me know if you catch any typos.)