"I am a Christmas cutie."

I went to Wal-mart today to try to find a Christmas outfit to take Eliot's picture in, and lo and behold, there were NO boy Christmas outfits to be had. Christmas sleepers they had in abundance, up until size 9 months. Girls' Christmas dresses, t-shirts, tights, and other apparel were everywhere in all sizes imaginable. They had girls' t-shirts featuring ribbons and bows and lace and sayings like "I am a Christmas cutie," "I love Santa Claus," etc., ad nauseum. But they had not a single scrap of "boy" Christmas clothing.

Needless to say, I was disgusted.

Is my baby not allowed to be a Christmas cutie, simply because he's a boy? Is Christmas not manly enough? Do baby boys not love Santa Claus?

Apparently, once a boy child passes the clothing size of 9 months, Christmas is no longer cool and he must move on instead to manlier clothing choices like Spiderman, trucks, tools, and dinosaurs.

Give me a freakin' break. So anyway, I put him in a red shirt and his gender neutral Santa hat, and took a picture. Now, I invite everyone to look at this picture and I just dare anyone to tell me this child isn't a Christmas cutie! Humpf. Just another reason to hate Wal-mart. And the ridiculous culture of gender differentiation that begins before birth. So there.

A belated Thanksgiving list.

I'm thankful for my son, Eliot, who has both challenged me and brought an incredible amount of joy into my life in such a short period of time.

I'm thankful for my husband, Eli, who has stood by me as a partner through even my worst moments and given me the strength to keep going.

I'm thankful for my parents and in-laws, who have given us so much help and support, especially in caring for Eliot.

I'm thankful for Libby, even though her being a teenager scares the hell out of me. ;-)

I'm thankful for the fellowship we have with extended family and the time we're able to spend together.

I'm thankful for all of the delicious food that I shouldn't have eaten over the holiday, especially pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cake...

I'm thankful for those who prepared all of that food, especially Mom, Elecia, Connie, Grandma S., and Pam. I still don't know how to make food that is not only edible, but mouth-watering. These women know something I don't. Okay, well, they know a lot of things I don't. ;-)

I'm thankful that Eli has taken on the role of cook at our house.

I'm thankful for pumpkins.

I'm thankful for rainy days.

I'm thankful for good books to read on rainy days.

I'm thankful for the naps I get to take with Eliot.

I'm thankful for the naps Eliot takes without me. ;-)

I'm thankful for our daycare provider, who takes such good care of Eliot and is always willing to listen to me rant/cry/worry over Eliot/work/stress/life in general.

I'm thankful for the everyday beauty I find all around me and the moments of sheer poetry I've experienced this year and in years past.

I'm thankful for the bad times that make the good times shine so much brighter.


Leftover pizza and half-empty glasses.

A full week of vacation spread out before me, so blank and beautiful. I'm loving it. I'm sitting in the office, listening to music and calmly, slowly working on getting lesson plans finished for the last two weeks of the semester, figuring up grades to this point, and straightening out and going through the many piles of paper and books on my desk. This is such a change from my usual stressed out, freaked out, frantic pace.

Here in a bit I'm going to go home and eat leftover pizza and possibly clean out my refrigerator.

Now that I think about it, this isn't exactly what a vacation used to represent to me. Actually, it's not even close. I'm so much more thankful now just for time to slow down and do the things that need doing. I have no idea what I did with my time before Eliot was born. Where did all those hours go? Hours that are now spent feeding, changing, playing, etc.?


I was telling Mom the other day about these last two weeks of classes coming up--what one of my colleagues calls "the slow slide into hell"--and how crazy it feels, like I'm running out of time and the semester is going to end whether I'm ready for it to or not. Anyway, Mom's general reply was that she prefers to see the glass as half full.
I told her that not only is the glass NOT half full, it's not even half empty either. Actually, all the glass has left in it is someone else's backwash.
We were on the phone, so I couldn't see her face, but she made that noise like she was thinking to herself (not for the first time), "Can this woman possibly be my biological daughter? And if so, what did I do to make her so negative???"
Then I felt kind of bad.

So the moral of that story is just to make a note to myself: When Eliot, as an adult, seems so foreign to me that I wonder how he sprang from my womb, remember that it probably isn't the direct result of anything I did or didn't do. He's simply a different person. Eliot does not = Eli + Rachel, just as Rachel does not = her mother + her father.
There, Mom. I hope you're relieved. Smile. I am.

Okay, now back to my vacation / work...


Thoughts to try to organize my brain in between student conferences...

Eliot and I went to the Bowen reunion on Saturday, where he was properly admired by all. He seems to be feeling better (finally), laughing again and playing on his own more rather than having to be constantly entertained and distracted.

Three more weeks of classes left in the semester...I'm counting down the days. We have the week of Thanksgiving off, during which I HAVE to shop for a new carseat for the little man, who's quickly growing out of his pumpkin seat thing-a-ma-jig. It's practically impossible for me to heft him around in it anymore.
He also needs winter clothes, so I'm planning on hitting the thrift store circuit during break. And speaking of clothes, I'm desperately in need as well. I'm sitting here with a long dress shirt on to hide the fact that my pants won't zip up all the way and don't even come close to snapping at the top. Sad, sad, sad. I should probably do laundry tonight so that I have some clean clothes that actually fit to wear to work tomorrow.

But instead I'll probably watch The Bachelor. I can't stop watching that show. It's like a car wreck. It's terrible, but I can't not look. I keep analyzing it and marvelling that 1) there are no shortage of women out there who willingly sign up to be on this show, who seem to honestly think that they'll find love, 2) the "bachelor" himself doesn't see a problem with the idea of pooling a bunch of women and whittling them down week by week while seducing them simultaneously and calling it "trying to find a connection" or "falling in love," and 3) people continue to watch this crap in the name of entertainment. But then again, I watch it, so...
But it's sociological curiosity, I swear.