The Word You’re Looking For Is…

I was at work the other day, as you do, working, and I needed a word. The word I was looking for was inconsistent but my brain was being inconsistent itself and (and this will betray my current work mindset here) all I could come up with was uncontrollable. So I did what any self-respecting procrastinator does and I headed off to the thesaurus.

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That wasn’t really what I was looking for though I did appreciate like a loose cannon. I went with undisciplined, since what I was going for was a sense of madness created from an unpredictable few.

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Mischievous has that certain something but naughty is something I would not like to picture associated with my co-workers. I missed inconsistent here sadly because YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SHE CLICKS UNGOVERNED!! I can’t stand those links by the way but it’s a good representation of how I felt when I saw this:

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Gay is right there east of corrupt, west of shameless and sinful, and north of immoral.Yes, I know. I know the traditional use of gay. I even took a screenshot for you because I looked to see if ungoverned showed up on the gay page. Spoiler: It does not.

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Given the definition of gay provided from the associated link above where “having or showing a merry, lively mood” is the fifth of nine definitions – clearly in line with the entries above, I’m baffled and irritated that gay appears in a list that also includes the words shameless, unprincipled, and depraved. Come on, man.

Technically, I suppose it’s right. But that doesn’t make it right. So I went with inconsistent even though what I actually meant was dude, we can do better than this.





So is there a bear…or isn’t there? I imagine we’re about to find out for sure. File this away in Reasons I Spent The Day At Home With RR.

Opinion: I Think the Elf on the Shelf is Creepy

I realize this is an unpopular opinion, but that Elf on a Shelf is creepy.

I know this is heresy because any time I mention my feelings about it (and believe me, I do so with caution after the first time someone looked at me like I had four heads and small children locked in a basement), I get big eyes followed by a snarly face and a j’accuse tone.  It’s as if I’d slunk up and slammed their religious beliefs.  Me, a person whom they had previously thought was good-natured, balanced, and sane.  I know.  What comes next is usually a firm, no-compromise explanation about why the Elf is the second coming accompanied by an unspoken (usually) accusation about my validity as a person.  I am reduced to dust.

I’m not that person who believes in telling it like it is at all costs.  I mean, I’m honest about how I feel but I’m also diplomatic and I know when it would benefit me to keep my mouth shut.  This has served me well as December wears on: it is impolite to be overly vocal about one’s skepticism over Elf on a Shelf.  It is wise to couch any unfavorable opinion is a gentle veneer of I’m just one person and I’m sure your child loves him.  You know what else I’ve learned I shouldn’t say?  That my mother once mentioned putting a hair over doll’s legs so you could be sure they weren’t getting up at night.  She was kidding, right?  Right?

As you can imagine, last week’s holiday party brought with it a troop of elf-lovers.  I felt like a traitor in their midst.  However, I’m a strong traitor and I discovered a few allies none of whom had the balls to vocally support the cause.  I’ve learned that the Elf reports back to Santa each night on the doings of the household and sometimes the particular naughtiness or niceness of the children.  I’ve learned that the Elf is a wonderful hider, giving the children something to look forward to every day.  I’ve learned that he does funny things that make the children laugh.  I’ve learned that he is the embodiment of joy and Christmas spirit.  I’ve learned that he sometimes (though not often) stands in a for an advent calendar.  I’ve learned that he’s capable of holding a sweet direction for the day.  “Decorate the tree!” or “Bake cookies!” or “Let mama take a nap!”  But you guys, does he have to have such a creepy face?


Just so you know that I’m not alone in a) feeling this way or b) being afraid of persecution, here are some other folks saying it better than I am:

(spoiler alert: if you are an Elf fan, you may want to stone me and these people so, to save you the quarry fees, here are some quotes from these articles just for you.  We’re all afraid of you.)  

—“An object that disappears and reappears is wonderfully fun” – The Atlantic
—“So innocent! So whimsical!…my kids thought it was hilarious…Why does everyone have to take everything so darn seriously?” – The Stir
“The Elf is a handy little thing to have.” – Jen from People I want to Punch in the Throat
—“You just like the fun of moving the little guy around, and having the kids gleefully search for him each day. It’s not so different from other holiday rituals, after all, like lighting candles or opening up the windows in an advent calendar.” – Salon

On to the links:

Morality, narcs, and the fear factor.
Parental pressure and feelings of inadequacy.
Some people need two elves, mess making, and parental comparisons.
Commercialism, privacy, and Facebook (also the endearment “crumpet” which, awesome).

Truth Telling

You all, I loved this post.  Not because I would ever tell my child that a fairy dies when you turn on and off the lights – what?  I’m totally more likely to pin it on a pony – but because I recently found myself doing this very same thing.

When the lie slipped out of my mouth, I was shocked at my audacity.  I don’t claim to be one of those folks who is “always honest, no matter how hard the truth is for other people to hear.”  Partly because I did time as a diplomat and partly because I prefer my truth seasoned with good-natured sentiment.  When I hear someone say that, I nearly always reword their following sentence so that it gets the point across without being douchy.  On the other hand, I’m all for creative license.  If it makes it better and doesn’t change the meaning, keeps the sentiment and the key points the same, and doesn’t have any impact on the future, I might just shine it up.  Fortunately for my family, friends and everyone else, the truth (at least so far as I’ve witnessed) is almost always more awesome than anything else.  Which is exactly why I was surprised at my audacity.

Here it is: I informed my child that she could not watch Olivia because Olivia was sleeping.  I know.  It’s a terribly slippery slope into telling her that I don’t know what happened to the book that bleats like a goat, or that the red shirt is dirty, or that goblins will gobble her if she doesn’t eat her chicken dammit.  I told her that the TV was off because the animated pig was sleeping and she looked at the TV and looked at me and was all, “Of course she is, I’m not at all surprised, mama.  Let’s go outside and run in the sunshine instead!”

I’m pretty sure that, despite my claims above (which I have probably shined up), that my friends and family would consider me to be a truth-teller.  I hope that my daughter grows up to say the same which is why, obviously, I can’t tell her that goblins will gobble her because, really, goblins are more…scarfers…  And that, my friends, is what is keeping me from continuing to claim Olivia is sleeping and explaining that the reason we can’t watch TV is because we are going to eat dinner.  And chicken is on the menu.

Baby Poker

We’re coming to the end of the boy/girl predictions and we’ve gone straight from ogling her body changes to alchemy and mysticism.  I’m an unconventional girl myself, so it’s not a reach for me to hear someone suggest standing naked under the full moon and whistling twice to see if anyone whistles back.  That doesn’t, incidentally, mean either a boy or a girl.  I’m just saying.    So here’s the end of it:

Baby Roulette: Questions 20-27

Wedding ring to string – circles, boy.  Back and forth, girl.  The old wives tales suggest dangling a needle or the mother’s wedding band tied to a piece of string, over her belly or palm.  There seems to be no preference for clockwise, or counter-clockwise.  We tried both with my engagement ring tied to a piece of floss.  So, not exactly scientific method.  Over her belly, we got a gentle circular motion, though this was almost certainly because I was kneeling on the bed, giggling, leading to a skewed result.  I used a shorter strand of floss over her hand and got a back and forth motion.  This may have been because the gigantic cat was pushing the bed with his monstrous tail.  Unfortunately, these cancel each other out – one for a boy and one for a girl.

There’s also some faith in the color and content of urine.  Bright yellow (check), then it’s a boy.  And then there’s a Drano test.  Stop.  Wait.  Step away from the chemicals.  Let us be a lesson to you.  DO NOT POUR YOUR URINE INTO DRANO.  But we did.  There’s no science to this – ratio of urine to noxious chemical?  Color change consensus?  Nada.  But here’s what we did and you probably shouldn’t.  And we wouldn’t again.  No really, we wouldn’t.  We took a ½ cup drano and poured in a ¼ cup urine.  For a second, it looked like the liquid changed to a brown color and then mellowed to a yellow.  AND THEN EXPLODED.

Yes, you heard me.  I mixed a toxic cocktail that blossomed into a volcano of foam and turned the plastic cup containing it into a fiery vessel of poison.  Fortunately, D was at some distance away.  Unfortunately, there is no consensus as to what the color change means, probably though boy.  If only for the fact that a girl would have the good sense to STEP AWAY FROM THE CHEMICALS.

So let’s step over to more international means of prediction.  The Mayans say that if adding the mother’s age at the time of conception (32) to the year of conception (2009) nets an odd number (it does) it’s a boy.  The Chinese went so far as to draw up a fancy chart which, in short, says boy for us though I’ll  never know if I did the lunar month (8?)/Chinese age (33?) correctly.

Chinese or Mayan, we all dream and the wives tales take a contrary approach.  We dream of girls, so we’ll be getting a boy.

And finally, the internet tells me that mothers who don’t know the baby’s gender guess right about 70% of the time.  And D thinks it’s a girl.  And I think it’s a girl.  Furthermore, our friends and coworkers who have children think it’s a girl.  And we’ll see if we’re right.

Final tally?  The boys came in strong today with 4 more points (making 8) but finishes behind the girls with a whopping 17.  We only have another 2 months to wait!

My Imaginary Family

It turns out the family in my mind and the reality of my family are two different things.  The family in my mind is hurt that they aren’t all at the birth and excited to be there just after.  They have to be fought off constantly.  They are audibly excited to be aunts and uncles and grandparents.  The reality is that they have to be asked to come visit and they are more than happy to visit later, much later, after the child is born.  After he is several months.  Even then, they are open about the problems that visiting will cause.  The pets that have to be boarded, the method of transportation.  The number of people coming.  They offer subdued congratulations and only sometimes remember to call.  They are not audibly excited.

This probably makes them sound worse than they are.  I know they are looking forward to meeting Vegas and I know they are excited.  After all, they are already aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, grandparents and great-grandparents.  We’re practically the last to add to the extended family.  I would blame it on this – the shadowed weariness of the second time around – but I think it has more to do with their very reserved nature.

I don’t come from effusive huggers.  I don’t talk to my mom every day.  We’re not best friends.  My sisters and I don’t have long gabs while painting our nails and shooing our husbands from the room.  My father didn’t give D permission to marry me and there wasn’t an aisle for him to walk down.  My grandmothers did not bake cookies, did not giggle with me in a fort, did not let me braid long white hair.  My sisters’ husbands don’t come over to barbeque.  We don’t all live in the same town, same state.  This isn’t Cosmopolitan, Family Circle or Little House on the Prairie.  I’m not sure why I expected them to be different.

And since I’m related to them, it’s no surprise that I don’t want them here for the birth, that I’m happy to have them come later.  I’ve always been more independent.  After so many years, it would only be surprising if they hadn’t learned that.  But it does’t stop me from wanting it all somehow.  A tiny slice of each bit would be welcome – a little enthusiasm, a request for a picture, discussion over plane tickets.  It isn’t forthcoming.  I love them for what they are, but sometimes I wished they lined up to the family in my head just a tiny bit more.

Baby Craps (not THAT kind)

Baby Roulette: Question 19

Let’s take a timeout from discussing her body and talk about mine for a minute.  It’s said that if daddy (that’s me) gains weight during the pregnancy, a girl is expected and if he stays the same, then it’s a boy.

While I didn’t do a strict scale before and during comparison, I’ve either stayed the same or lost since September.  I definitely dropped weight like a bear in June when she was barely nibbling on saltines, but since then I’ve been floating right around normal.  Except today, when for whatever reason, I seem to have exploded out of my clothing.  POW.  And just like that, everyone in the office blushed.

So there’s another mark for a boy, bringing Vegas to a paltry 4 v. 16.

Baby Texas Hold ‘Em

As if it isn’t enough to carefully examine a baby-lady’s belly, thighs and face for signs of testosterone, we can carefully look at what she eats to determine where to baby sex tides have taken us.

Baby Roulette: Questions 16-18

We’ve got three indicators here:

1.    Here the old adage holds true…sugar and spice and everything nice are what little girls are made of, in this case, chocolate, fruit and sweets.  And, if you consider that little boys are made of frogs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails, it’s not surprising that salty and sour things and meat and cheese points to a boy.  Since I’ve never seen D eat as much fruit as she has in the last seven months, I’m giving the point to a girl.  Though it should be noted that she drank lemon juice like it was going out of style in the first 12 weeks.

2.    Bread.  Remember how your grandmother used to refer to bad boys as heels?  Like, “He didn’t pin me at the prom.  He was a real heel.”  Maybe that is just my grandmother.  Not that a boy wouldn’t have pinned her as, she used to inform me, she had gorgeous gams.  Grandma is nothing but upfront.  If D preferred the middles of bread loaves, it would be a girl, but because she likes the ends, that’s one for a boy.

3.    Dracula always has liked the ladies.  According to lore, if the baby is a girl then any garlic D. eats would disappear unnoticed, leaving no scent to perfume the air.  On the other hand, if eating a clove of garlic leaves her dripping in the scent, it’s a boy.  I have recently experimented with feeding her many cloves of garlic…well, come on, I’m not fooling anyone.  I’m ALWAYS feeding us many cloves of garlic.  To this day, I haven’t caught a whiff of my ministrations on her skin.  Girl.

So, that’s one more for a boy and one more for a girl.  Two if you consider that lemon is also a fruit.  That brings the total to 16 Girl and 3 boy.

Baby Five Card Draw – Girl pulling ahead.

In the middle of my lull, I haven’t even been guessing at Vegas’ sex.  I know.  All the fun has been sucked from my life.  So, I bring you the next edition of the baby game.

Apparently, people who spend a lot of time staring at pregnant women have developed a hugely scientific formula for determining whether there’s a boy or girl lurking beneath that bump.  And really, they aren’t looking at the bump at all most of the time, because breasts figure prominently in the divination list.

Baby Roulette Questions 5 – 16: Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

First, let’s get to the good stuff.  Knockers.  Asymmetry predicts gender.  A larger left breast, boy and larger right breast girl.  If they look the same, does that mean you’re having one of each?  Furthermore, if the areolae have darkened then you’ve got a little man while staying the same indicates a girl.  D’s breast are lovely and perfect, but she’s got a slight slant to the right.  And I think we’re getting some darkening, though it isn’t at all pronounced.  Sorry to share your business with the world, baby, but I think that means we’ve got a girl on both counts.

Not only are people trying to feel you up when you’re pregnant, you’ve got folks examining your face like it’s some sort of magic eight ball.  Some say a round and rosy face means a girl, and if we don’t have round and rosy, no one does.  Sadly, that round and rosy face just might be attacked by blemishes if it’s a girl.  And well, while my wife is gorgeous, she has also recently complained of hormonal activity on her skin.  I, of course, see nothing as I am blinded by her handsome visage.  In the end, they say the prettier the mama (and we’d win contests over here) the more chance of a son.  Score one for a boy Vegas, but throw two to a girl.

Let’s talk about extremities.  Legs getting bigger?  Boy.  Legs getting hairier? Boy.  Feet colder?  Boy. And for us, that’s girl, girl, girl.  It’s not all feet either, if you ask a pregnant woman to put out her hands and she shows you her palms, it’s a girl.  And f you ask D, you’ll get a lovely glance at her guitar playing badges on her palms.

Finally, there are three more body-based check boxes.  First, women who prefer to sleep on their left sides are probably carrying a boy.  Considering the fact that my wife would like to lay next to me, her eyes boring into the side of my brain as she tries to sleep on her right side, she’s carrying a girl.  If D were graceful through pregnancy that also would be a girl.  And finally, high levels of nauseousness in early pregnancy (which she had) point to a girl.  While my jury is out on the graceful bit, we’ve got two girl votes for certain.  And if pressed, I’d say she’s been more graceful since she’s been lugging that belly around.  But that easily could be interpreted as more careful.

Remember, we left off recently at girl 3, boy 1.  To that we’re tacking on another 11 girl votes, although several of those are in question as they were pre-existing conditions that are only conveniently falling into the girl category.  Taking in our boy plus one, that gives the girl a steady lead with 14 indicators while the boy stays in the back of the pack with 2.

Baby Blackjack!

Baby Roulette Questions 2-4:

According to the fishwives, the sex of the baby isn’t just about heart rate.  (As a side note, we’re off to the doc again today and we might get an update on that.  I figure at some point these appointments must change right?  Less LIE DOWN LADY AND LET’S GIT TO YER HAIRLINE! and more …Let me prod you delicately while exclaiming over your no doubt beautiful child’s future…  No?)  Sex is also about how that baby is sitting, what he’s posing as and how much he’s affecting her gait.  And let’s be honest, sex is also about whether there’s a baby at all…but that’s another story.

There’s some talk about carrying high or low.  I suspect this is something any well-versed midwife or doctor can pronounce from a glance, but I have been developing complicated equations to assess belly ratio to height divided by area, radius and hairline followed closely by giving it all up when I realize I’m not sure whether to measure up or down from the belly button.   On alternate days, I simply eye her belly skeptically and try to decide whether it hits my back or butt when I try to push past her in a crowded doorway.  OUT OF THE WAY WIFE!  On all of those counts, she’s carrying high, and folks say that’s a girl.  Also, someone once wrote a song called She’s So High so it must be a girl.  She’s So High is not to be confused with Because I Got High performed by Afroman which I think is a better song, mostly because people are always saying She’s So High reminds them of me – not in the Afroman sense, more in the lyrical sense, which I don’t think actually fits me.  Kind of like when D’s mother calls me fancy.

But let’s put that behind us.  Literally.  If you look at a pregnant lady alone, from behind, you should stop admiring her ass (is that just me?) and look up a few inches (or more if you can figure out what carrying high is) and see if you can tell if she’s pregnant from behind.  If you’re like me, you’re always stealing glances at your wife’s bum.  If she looks pregnant, and she does, we’re talking about a girl in there.  If she doesn’t show from behind, well…it’s Afroman in there, is all I’m saying.

There’s still at least one more old wives tale about bellies (maybe you know more?) and that has to do with the shape of things.  This one is so straightforward even I can tell what I’m looking at.  Watermelon?  Check.  There’s your pretty, pink princess.  Basketball?  Afroman.  Nuff said.

So just to keep the tally straight, we’ve got 1 point already for a boy (heart rate) and 3 for a girl (carrying high, the way she looks from behind and watermelons). Next up, more dissecting women’s bodies and making predictions about the smallest of things.  Leg hair!  Breakouts!  Breasts!  Fun!