August 16, 2008

There went my dinner…up in smoke.

Posted in Things That Tick Me Off tagged , , , , , , at 2:59 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

It was 5:00. We were hungry. What to eat? Nothing in the kitchen looked good…and the thought of actually cooking something didn’t sound great either. Then, I had a brilliant idea – a pizza place in the next town where my family went at least once a week for the duration of my childhood, but that my husband and children had never visited. So we jumped in the van, and we were off.

Everything about the place was the same – the big, medieval style handle on the door, the small-ish tables and rickety wooden chairs, the handpainted coats of arms decorating the walls, the jukebox, the penny gumball machine by the door. Even the smell of the place was exactly the same as it was twenty years ago – I’ve never encounted another pizza that smells quite like theirs. Two of the people behind the counter were familiar faces from my childhood, although a bit older now. I happily placed our order, introduced my old friends to my husband and children, and headed for “our” table in the far corner. We settled down with our drinks, and prepared to have a nice meal.

And then I choked. And gagged. And nearly heaved. A quick glance around the small-ish dining area brought back to me the one memory that had obviously been suppressed: this restaurant still allows smoking. And a large table behind us was taking full advantage of the fact, with three patrons happily puffing away. Next to them, another table of smokers. And across the room, still more.

Now, I don’t know if there’s such a thing as an actual allergy to cigarette smoke, but if there is, I have one. My throat closes right up at the smell of the stuff – I can’t breathe, I can’t talk, I feel sick. If I hang around it for long enough, I actually become sick. But even worse than my own physiological symptoms is the immediate rage I now feel when cornered by secondhand cigarette smoke – how DARE they smoke on my children?! I snatched Boogie out of her high chair and took my children outside for a walk while we waited for our food. After several minutes, we ventured back in to find things not much better. And although it saddened me immensely to do it, I finally requested our meal to go instead.

It turned out okay in the end. We drove to a nearby park – that Princess loves, and that we don’t get to visit often enough – and ate under the picnic shelter, then played on the playground. She loved it. But I’m still irritated that a few smokers ruined my plan for dinner. Ruined my reminiscing.

I know that we should hate the sin and love the sinner, but it’s darned hard for me when it comes to smoking. Smokers are, in my experience, such a self-righteous bunch. “I have the RIGHT to smoke”, etc. Funny, I think that humans should have the right to BREATHE. Especially innocent children. I’ve been around for long enough now that I’m sure there’s some secondhand crap cluttering my lungs already – and really, once you have children, your own life isn’t *quite* as important as before anyway. But my babies’ lungs are pink and spotless, and goshdarnit I intend for them to stay that way for as long as possible.

Do smokers even know how disgusting they are because of their habit? Do they realize how ridiculous they look with a cloud of smoke following them everywhere they go? Do they know that people notice their yellow teeth and hands and that their breath could puke a dog on a gut wagon? Does it really not bother them that people are constantly having to move away from them? I mean, it’s like self-induced body odor. I just don’t understand.

And I would love to know what chemical in cancer sticks makes them stop caring about social niceties, such as keeping their filth to themselves. Even those with language that would make a sailor blush with shame will very often refrain in mixed company. But not smokers. They feel entitled, somehow, to spread it around.

My husband, who loves listening to talk radio, told me on the way home that Neal Boortz loves to rant about smokers, calling them “filthy drug addicts” and smoking “an act of self-hatred”.  I couldn’t agree more. I understand that it’s a habit, and that it’s hard to quit – but nothing worthwhile in this life comes easily. And who wouldn’t want just to be healthy again, to extend their life by a few years – and to stop being gross and irritating as well? Maybe I’ll never understand. Certainly I’ll always have to avoid them. And this probably won’t be my last rant about them. You’ve been warned…

August 5, 2008

Since I’m a slacker…

Posted in Baby Talk tagged , , , , , , , at 5:55 am by junecleaverwouldbeshocked

I started this blog because I had become so horrible at updating my old one. Apparently, old habits are hard to break. So before I forget entirely what’s happening right now, a quick rundown of what Boogie is up to at not-quite-eight-months-old.

  • Considering crawling. Thinking very hard about it, but not quite decided yet. She’s very good at getting onto her hands and knee, while sticking her other knee out to one side like a chubby little kickstand and getting utterly stuck for several seconds, before finally plopping down onto her belly and assuming the scooting position. She’s very good at scooting backward, and around in circles, and sometimes sideways. She’s definitely mobile, just not in any traditional or easily describable way.
  • Clapping is fun. Even more fun is clapping your hands, for you. And then gnawing on them.
  • She gnaws on them because she has two pearly whites now, on the bottom. They’re the cutest teeth in the world, incidentally.
  • She subscribes to the “eat to live, don’t live to eat” theory. Real food comes along but once a day, at dinnertime, and usually consists of either peas, sweet potatoes, green beans, apples, pears or oatmeal. Sweet potatoes and apples are by far the favorites. She is still breastfed on demand, and demands loudly and often. Broken up Cheerios are a recent discovery, although the verdict is still out.
  • The three things that relieve teething pain every time: her sippy cup, full of ice water (apparently makes the spout cold, as she chews on it); “icy cold teethers” that her sister loves to fetch for her from the fridge; and an ice cube in that funky mesh feeder thing that her sister would never touch as an infant.
  • She knows the sign for “milk” and ain’t afraid to use it.
  • Loves to talk. Started out with “dadadada” non-stop, but has since ditched him in favor of “mamamama”. However, the vast majority of her babbling sounds exactly like “BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”, and I have no clue how she makes the “l” sound.
  • She instigates games of peek-a-boo by hiding her face in your arm/leg/shoulder/whatever is available, and leaving it there until you say “wheeeeere’s Boogie?” Then she pops her head up and grins. It’s only the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, and she’s an absolute genius for figuring it out all by herself.
  • We are still happy co-sleepers. It’s been nearly a month now since she stopped nursing to sleep, and I am still amazed every. single. time. she goes to bed without a boob in her mouth. I nursed her sister to sleep every night, every naptime, until she was eighteen months old. For Boogie to be able to go to sleep without my assistance feels like a little miracle. She goes to bed around 8 now, sleeps until I come to bed (usually at a ridiculous time), nurses and goes back to sleep until 8-ish, or whenever her sister sees fit to wake us up.
  • My only complaint is that separation anxiety hit hard and early. Woe be unto me if I attempt to sit the child down and move more then three inches away. On rare occasions, she’ll play happily in the floor while I wash a dish or check my email, but usually my moving away from her is rewarded by banshee-like screams of displeasure, which are quieted only by picking her up again. Needless to say, it is difficult to accomplish much of anything while lugging around a twenty pound cling-on.

Having two children is much more difficult than I imagined that it would be – and that’s a complete understatement. There are days when none of us get dressed, simply because she won’t allow me to put her down for long enough without her screaming – and while sometimes it’s just necessary, I don’t like to let her cry unless there’s just no way around it. There are days when I don’t get to do anything one-on-one with Princess, and I feel horrible about that. There are days when I don’t do anything to the house, and I feel horrible about that. In fact, it seems as though I always feel horrible about something. Mommy guilt is an unforgiving master.

However, there is one thing that helps alleviate some of that guilt. I was utterly convinced, before Boogie was born, that I could never, never love another child the way I loved my first. And as much as I wanted another girl, I almost thought that a boy would be easier to love, since that love would be, somehow, different. But, I’m happy to report that I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I love her more than I thought possible, and without sacrificing one iota of my love and devotion to my first daughter. Weird how that works for us mommies. And very, very cool.