On Resolutions


New Year’s Eve is here, and with it resolution season has officially opened. I have mixed feelings about resolutions. Using the symbolism of the new year to “start fresh” and make positive changes provides a psychological boost, I suppose. However, the most common resolutions are trite and obviously didn’t stick last year or the year before.  The gigantic advertising budget of diet companies this time of year is a clue. I won’t even go to the gym until mid-February, when most of the resolution defaulters stop clogging the ellipticals. Do I sound cynical? I hope not. I believe resolving to change for the good is necessary, and something we should do all year long–  not in one big burst when December turns to January. It also seems that a really effective resolution to change for the better must involve more than the self. The perennially popular weight-loss resolution seems hollow. Once one is wearing smaller clothes, what then? Does exterior shrinking lead to interior growth? Let’s be healthy, yes, but let’s look to something bigger for our once-a-year resolutions. How can we effect relationships with family, friends, and the world at large in a positive way? For my part, I resolve to be more gentle in my interactions. Will I be a resolution defaulter? I hope not. But striving for gentleness leads to hurting others less– and that, I believe, is worthy of a New Year’s resolution. Happy New Year to one and all, and may all of our resolutions be realized.

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Jobs an Indicator of Human Dignity?


Recently I was reading an article about employee discontent over retailers opening on Thanksgiving evening rather than “Black Friday” morning. Basically, some retail employees would like to keep the tradition of stores remaining closed on the Thanksgiving holiday so that they can spend the time with their families. When I got to the comment section of the article, I was left in a state of near sickness over some of the sentiments expressed. There were three main themes among commenters– those agreeing that retail employees should have the full holiday like everyone else, those saying anyone who has a job right now should be grateful and not complain about extra hours, and those– this is the one that made me sick– who said that retail workers are uneducated and unambitious so they shouldn’t expect to have holidays free. The tone was often sarcastic, saying things like:

“May I ask what your level of education is? Oh, right– you dropped out.”

“If you don’t like it, start your own business. Didn’t think so. Don’t forget the cheese on my double stack next time.”

This is a frightening trend, not in terms of whether or not stores open on Thanksgiving, but in terms of the sheer number of people (granted through the anonymity of the internet), who really seem to tie human dignity to social status. The message from a large number of commenters seemed to be “you work a low-end job, you don’t matter”.

My husband works for a multi-national coffee chain. He says he encounters this type of attitude daily. There are friendly customers, of course, but there are also those who are downright mean and degrading. One comment I’ll never forget, for its sheer absurdity, is when a man dissatisfied with his coffee said to my husband “you drug addicted high school drop out!” Hmm… My husband has a masters’ degree and he’s never had so much as a cigarette, which makes this man’s assumption comical, but on a deeper level it is quite sad that there seems to be a whole set of preconceived ideas about people based solely on what job they happen to have at the time.

I will insist upon my children treating everyone well, with no distinction between those in a higher and those in a lower social position. People are people, and human dignity is not contingent upon the amount of one’s salary. If my children ever feel it is okay to mistreat or condescend to others based on perceived social status I will consider it a parenting failure.

Just a Funny Search Term


One of the things I enjoy doing is looking at the search terms that lead traffic to this site. Usually it is just “experimentalmom”, sometimes it is something montessori related, but today was “plastic fancy toys”. Hmm… I don’t have any plastic fancy toys on the site, but I hope that visitor enjoyed it nonetheless!

A vegetarian restaurant I follow on Twitter, @ionrestaurant, routinely has people find their blog by searching “sexy mother goose”. Really? What funny search terms have brought visitors to your site?

Pure Potential


Isn’t it fascinating, when looking at an infant, to think that every person begins just this way? The greatest and the worst– all begin as precious, innocent, helpless infants. When I look at baby D I am in awe of the fact that each infant is pure potential– all paths are open. Who will he grow to be? Hopefully he will be a good man. We will raise him with the best standards we know. But he eventually will have his own standards. He, just like all others, will ultimately choose his own path through life. All people, even that jerk who cut you off in traffic then yelled something rude while making an obscene gesture, were once someone’s little baby. Infants are little bundles of pure potential. Perhaps that is the most startling and nerve-wracking part of parenthood.

Check Out My New Blog


I have a new blog dealing with the topic of criminal justice and prison reform in the United States. It is called Justice Not Vengeance. In keeping with the old advice to not talk about politics or religion if you want to avoid conflict, my experimental Mom blog will stay focused on the topics of parenting and education, and the Justice Not Vengeance blog will focus on the more politically charged topics of law, prison, and public opinion on these matters. Please stop by and check it out. If you like the ideas on the Experimental Mom blog but hate the ideas on the Justice Not Vengeance blog, please keep reading and contributing to Experimental Mom. Vigorous discussion and disagreement also welcome on Justice Not Vengeance.

Can Parents Be Trusted With Children?


Today my husband and I went to a well-known baby gear store with the intention of buying a sleep sack for the baby. These seem like a good alternative to blankets and constant swaddling– the former posing a suffocation hazard and the latter not allowing for movement of arms and legs. We found a good variety of colors and patterns, from the plain, subtle colors that I prefer to the boldest patterns to suit the most colorful taste. There was only one problem: every single one had “Back Is Best” embroidered on the material. Really? This had nothing to do with the name of the company making the sleep sacks. It was a nonremovable warning label disguised in cutesy, colorful lettering. There was one lone representative from a different maker, and it did not have the warning, but it was in a girlie print and we do not know the sex of our baby. We approached a couple of sales people and asked if there were any more options. Online yes, in store no. But we have a wide variety… Yes, I said, they look nice. I just don’t like the instructions on baby sleep position displayed on the garment. Parents aren’t clueless. One sales person agreed with me, the other looked at me like I was crazy. Oh well.

I can see providing the information. One baby saved from SIDS is worth it. I just felt that stitching the warning into the garment was over the top. Due to litigious people we now have to be informed that coffee is hot, not to use a hairdryer in the bath, and that one can suffocate if one puts a plastic bag over one’s head. If adults can’t take care of themselves, clearly we can not be trusted with helpless infants. Perhaps I am overreacting, but I do not need the baby sleep sack to tell me how to put my child to sleep. I believe that parents can be trusted with children. We all survived somehow– when there were many fewer safety regulations than there are today.

I’m on Twitter! (No Really…)


I’m on Twitter! Those of you who know me can stop laughing now. Ok keep laughing, it is pretty funny. For those who don’t know me, I am so unTwitter it’s hilarious. 🙂 But, I decided that it is the best forum for sharing daily, not blog post worthy things like my mileage for marathon training. I’ve already met some very cool people tweeting very interesting things– I’m glad I signed up. Tweet me! @experimentalmom

Holy Cow! Are You Due Any Day?


People say a lot of interesting things to pregnant women. I haven’t had many comments, and not one stranger has touched my belly. From what I hear this is a rare situation. I must give off a “leave me alone” vibe. A couple of people have said funny things to me– I haven’t been offended, just amused.

This morning I was taking a walk and a woman who had just come out of her house as I walked by said “Holy cow! Are you due any day?” I said yes, and she seemed to realize that perhaps her choice of words was not the most tactful. She tried to recover by saying “Oh, I couldn’t even tell you were pregnant until you were really close… good luck!”, and then hurrying back into the house. I got a good laugh from that one.

The only other thing someone has said was earlier in my pregnancy. A woman I had not seen in a while took one look at me and said “either you’ve gained A LOT of weight or you’re pregnant!”. A stranger who happened to be nearby got a horrified expression when she heard that. Thankfully I was pregnant and not just fat!

I think a lot of people want to say something when they see a pregnant woman because most everyone likes babies. When the baby is still in utero, though, it can be a little awkward. What is the funniest (or most upsetting) thing someone has said to you about your pregnancy?

A Multi-Generational Cradle


 

This is a cradle that my father made for me when I was born. Now my baby gets to use it! It has been newly cleaned and is waiting for the arrival of the little one.

Thank You Bank Fraud Departmant


Well, the dreaded credit card fraud has struck my account. I tried to make a small purchase with my bank card today and was declined. When I called the bank to find out why, I was told that a large transaction from a men’s clothing store in the U.K. had come through a couple of days ago leaving me with a grand total of $51.00 in my account. Since it seemed suspicious the bank blocked my card until they could verify the transaction with me. Apparently another large transaction, this time from Sweden, tried to come through the account yesterday. Thankfully it had already been frozen. I spoke to a very helpful woman named Cindy who filled out a fraud report, officially cancelled the compromised card, issued me a new one, and explained the whole process that would take place to get the money back. She said the money would most likely be restored, but it could take a while. Sigh. I am grateful to the vigilant fraud department at the bank for recognizing the suspicious activity and freezing the account immediately. Without that action my life would now be a lot more complicated.