Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The iPotty

As someone who has worked with very young children for nearly 25 years, during which I have participated in the potty training of hundreds of children, I need to say that this potty iPad is a very, very bad idea.


Over the last couple of years, numerous early childhood educators have noticed that the prevalence of electronic communication in our everyday lives seems to have a negative impact on the trajectory of social and language development.  It's not so much that the kids are plugged in at an early age, the trouble is that the grown ups don't talk to little kids anymore because the grown ups are plugged into their own devices.

Notice the number of grown ups, from all demographics on the subway or in waiting rooms or standing in line at the grocery store, playing video games on their phones while they ignore their children.  Or yacking away on their cell phones while pushing the child in a stroller.  No conversation = Trouble in Mudsville in terms of language, social interaction and even pretend play which is where the neurobiological foundation is built for cognition, analytical thinking and the successful processing of artificially imposed information like academics.

What this trend means is that the next generation is likely to have even more trouble than the last one in being able to recognize bullshit when they hear it.   The generations since Ronald Reagan instituted Back to Basics and high stakes standardized testing have gotten progressively more stupid, as the state of the nation routinely testifies.

A recent example is this chemical spill in West Virginia where voters have happily elected tea baggers and dumb-ass libertarians who fully believe the market results in corporate self-regulation.  Now that same government is trying to convince them their drinking water isn't toxic.  I'm not going to continue siting examples of the public acceptance of endless war and ecocide because it makes my head explode.  
the paramilitary police force and killer cops,
the idea that Apple, and plenty of other companies like Walmart, are manufacturing these products in China where there are no safety or environmental regulations and working conditions are so bad that worker suicide is common - and we push this knowledge out of our minds every day just so we can live in our own society - is entirely too depressing.
I'm fixing to go to work to play with little kids and make sure their parents have a clue about how to sustain healthy relationships with their kids.

I blame Dick Cheney, Richard Nixon, Donald Rumsfeld, et al.  When the general public can't tell their asses from their elbows, those bad guys regularly get away with murder.  Let's remember that in the mountains of Afghanistan, the amount of minerals used in manufacturing and powering these electronic devices is estimated to be worth trillions of dollars.
Old News from the New York Times:
US Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan (6.13.10)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Eleven Eleven

Earlier today, a friend asked for my mailing address, and as I was writing it down, I realized that in a few days, my address will be Pinko's address too.  For the record, I've never cohabited with a man before except for Buzz Kill, and when I moved to New York, it was with the understanding that we were considering marriage.

Pinko and I are not considering marriage.  Or at least, we're not considering it at the moment.  Frankly, I'm not sure he ever considers marriage since he may very well still be married.  Pinko has told me the story of his marriage to a manipulative lunatic in Dallas.  It was one of those disastrous first marriages so many people find themselves in when they are too young to know any better.   We'll call his wife Joey.  She ran up his credit cards, got him fired, and made a general nuisance of herself during the few months they were married.  Joey was the kind of crazy person who woke up from a dream about Pinko and another woman and started punching him in his sleep.  I'm not sure why Joey thought it was a good idea to pull a knife on Pinko, but she did.  Pinko called Joey's brother and told him to come get her.  When the brother arrived, Pinko shoved Joey and all her belongings into the car and sent her off into the night.  That was the last time Pinko saw his wife.   He can't recall if there were ever any divorce papers or not.

I don't have an issue with him still being married since I'm not particularly interested in getting married myself.  The IRS has an interest in Pinko's whereabouts, and I had enough experience with the IRS when I was married to Buzz Kill to know that the IRS uses the term "injured spouse" when you're supposed to get a refund but they keep it on account of your spouse's bullshit.

There may be some reasons to get married, but right now I can't think of any since my work extends benefits to domestic partners.  We don't even have to register with city hall.  We just have to meet three out of twelve criteria, and one of them can be that our drivers licenses have the same address.

In lots of ways, moving in together is like getting married.  At least it is for me.  Pinko's lived with five or six women, so he clearly has a different experience.  He never moved across the country to live with a woman, however.  It's one thing to follow the path of least resistance into living with someone.  It's quite another to leave everything you know behind to start a new life in a noisy, overwhelming place like New York City with someone you've only known a few months.  I know because that's what I did when I moved in with Buzz Kill.  Actually, I moved in with Buzz Kill and Vagina Dentata since Buzz Kill was living with her in the giant rent stabilized apartment on Central Park West.  Velvet and Cupcake are living there with Buzz Kill now that Vagina Dentata is in the old folks' home.

Moving to New York and subsequently marrying Buzz Kill was the right thing to do, and so is going to get Pinko - but even though I know it's a good decision, I may as well admit I'm terrified.  Once we get on that plane together one week from today, we may as well be married.  It's easier to toss a man out of your house when you don't have to hire a lawyer, but the heartbreak is probably the same.

I wouldn't know since I've never lived with a boyfriend before.  I've tried to think of the next six months as another extended date.  There's a built in exit strategy because he'll leave in July for Burning Man.  It's kind of like an escape hatch, I guess.  If there are irreconcilable issues, we'll say goodbye in July, and I just won't go to Burning Man ever again.  That's much easier than getting a divorce.

I really hated getting a divorce.  I really hate it that getting a divorce was necessary especially since it seemed like getting married was such a good idea at the time, although my mother did tell me not to marry Buzz Kill.  Sadly, the RSVPs were already starting to come in for the wedding before my mother delivered her assessment that Buzz Kill would always put his mother before me.  She wasn't exactly right since ultimately we divorced because he put his dysfunction before our marriage - but his relationship with Vagina Dentata is the primary manifestation of that dysfunction.

Let me pause a moment to declare my extreme gratitude that I will never, ever have to wipe that woman's ass.

That's the thing about marriage, and most likely all committed relationships - eventually, there will be ass wiping involved.  With luck, there will be enough resources to hire someone to perform said ass wiping, but no matter how you slice it, when you grow old with someone, ass wiping is part of the package.  Unless of course, you get hit by a bus or exit this world in a way that is quick and doesn't leave much mess.

Over the holidays, my family was sitting around the kitchen table together and my pulitzer prize winning brother described the mess he had to clean up when one of his best buddies from work died.  That fellow, a good-natured but committed alcoholic who lived alone for years and years, died while he was watching the basketball game in his favorite chair.  His dinner and a vodka bottle were nearby.  No one in their little circle of friends had heard from him for several days even though they were planning a birthday party for him and he knew it, so my brother and sister-in-law went to their buddy's house to check on him.  He had been dead for several days.  My brother followed protocol and called the cops once he got the door open wide enough for the smell to tell the tale.  There was a quite a physical mess.  My brother felt compelled to manage that situation for the family, and he managed admirably.  The good news is that the fellow was well loved by his friends and colleagues, and they eventually all gathered in Paris, his favorite place, to pour his ashes in the Seine.

That's the kind of thing that happens when you live alone for years - especially if you're a hermit who buys vodka by the case, and are a man in that Drop Dead zone.  Lots and lots of men who are heart attack prone drop dead in their mid-fifties.  Younger, sometimes, if they're particularly unhealthy.

Pinko is not particularly healthy.  Even though I'm moderately healthy, there is currently a long, alarming incision just above my collar bone, and I seem to go under the knife every couple of years.

Gigi accompanied me to the hospital and hung around all day during the procedure.   The surgery was more complicated than we had hoped, and for a time, there was some discussion about admitting me for the night.  I missed all that because I was knocked out.  Gigi got all those details and passed them on to my parents, my child and Pinko who really is the man of my dreams despite my current agitation.

Once Gigi joined me in the recovery room, she bonded with the nurse who was in charge of me.  Gigi gave the nurse good humored encouragement while the nurse made periodic phone calls to the lab to find out if my PTH levels were such that I could be released.  At 10:00pm, the nurse made a fourth call, requesting to speak to the lab manager who informed her that the techs who were supposed to have performed that had been gone for hours. The nurse then called the assisting physician, Doctor Shlomo, to see if I could go home since, in her assessment, I was fine.  The whole point of the test was to make sure my hormones finally stabilized properly after they put my parathyroids into my arm.  That hormonal instability is why the surgeon put my parathyroids in my arm.

It's all very confusing, and I'll learn more when I see the surgeon for the follow up visit tomorrow.  The main thing is that Gigi rode with me in a taxi home and put me into bed.  Velvet and Cupcake babysat me for a couple of days, which was cute even though they ate the soup I had made for in preparation for the surgery and although the dishes were done when I got home, the next day, I was standing at the sink in rubber gloves.

They're coming back on Wednesday to help me with the laundry and the closets in preparation for Pinko's arrival.  At that time, I intend to deliver another lecture about dishes, but for the moment, I'm more concerned because an entire handful of my hair came out yesterday when I was washing it.  Most likely, that's a temporary condition due to the hormonal fluctuation after the surgery.  It was alarming.  The only time my hair has fallen out before was just after Velvet stopped breastfeeding.  

Even though marriage to Buzz Kill was troubling from the beginning - troubling enough to explore divorce during the first year with a friend who had just gotten out of law school - I concluded that the problems were not so great that we shouldn't have a child together.   Although I was wrong about the extent of the problems, I made the right decision about the baby.  Hell, the problems were so great that for a moment, the day I found out I was pregnant, I thought I should have an abortion and move home to Texas.  It was a sad day.  Promises were made; promises were broken - but I never once regretted having that baby even though he's grown up into a douchebag who lets dishes sit in the sink.

I'm heading out to Reno this weekend with the same level of certainty about this relationship as I had about that baby.  I was pretty scared about having a baby, too, especially when I heard that he was upside down and backwards, and my blood pressure was so high that the placenta had started evaporating a couple of weeks before he was due.  We scheduled the C-Section for 10:00 the next Friday.  Here's me and Velvet, that very Friday, right before the doctor let him out.

I was scared that day too.  More scared than I am now even though I absolutely do feel like I'm getting married this weekend.  Having a baby is the one thing I chose to do in my life that I knew didn't come with an escape hatch.  A baby is for always, no matter what.

I'm pretty sure Pinko is for always too.  Not 100% sure, but pretty sure.   I would say that we'll find out when our life together starts next week, but our life together started a couple of months ago on 11/11.   Everybody knows that 11:11 am and pm are lovely reminders that angels are hovering somewhere nearby all the time.  I love thinking about angels, but more to the point, 11/11 was the day the bed moved across the room and Pinko and I didn't even notice.  That's an auspicious beginning.