Random Observations, because I’m trying to post more often

Once in a while, Stella calls me “Amber.” Deeply disturbing yet hilarious. Though, it totally sounds like she’s imitating Cody. She’ll be in the computer room yelling, “Amber! Amberrrr! I can’t HEAR you! AMBER!?” Yep, sounds familiar.

We finally programmed her obnoxiously chipper, stuffed pal Scout to say “Stella” and her favorite color (green), food (ice cream) and animal (currently, penguin). You should’ve seen Stella’s face when she heard him speak her name for the first time. In the ensuing days, they’ve grown a lot closer. Stella’s all, “Finally I’m getting something BACK in this relationship!” But seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this. The toy now inserts her name and the aforementioned key words into songs–with superb awkwardness. If he’s singing about his “favorites,” for example, and it’s time to mention “green,” the twinkly boppy electronic music totally halts, a few milliseconds of silence ensue, then you hear the word in a slightly different tone than Scout typically employs, followed by a touch more silence, and finally the song resumes as if nothing happened. To me, comedy gold. To Stella, validation of a friendship that for so long seemed one-sided.

Is it me or does Mad Men induce heavier drinking than usual? I’ve been indulging in proper cocktails lately. A couple per night for the last few days–mainly good margaritas including only freshly squeezed lime juice, 100% agave tequila, and Cointreau. Oh all right, I’ll admit I had four on Saturday night (two glasses of wine and two very strong margaritas to be exact). During that same span we’ve been watching one episode of Mad Men, the best show ever, per evening. It’s not working out. Don and company make it seem so effortless and normal–hard alcohol on the rocks is clearly a natural extension of any meal, meeting, or fleeting frustration. Well, even my low (by comparison) level of imbibing doesn’t seem to mix well with my anti-depressants or early toddler wake-up calls. So tonight I’m drinking chamomile while watching Mad Men. After I finish this lovely glass of rose.

As you can see in my twitter stream, I kind of told “STFU, Parents” (“one of the 33 tumblrs you NEED to watch” according to The Huffington Post) to STFU. Because of this. And by the way, “STFU, Parents” defensively tweeted back! Now, normally I think that the funny person behind this site does a pretty great job of picking the most wildly inappropriate, over-sharing parents’ Facebook posts to skewer (such as pictures of poo, complaints about restaurants not putting up with their children poking other customers with straws and other horrible behavior, placenta-related horrors, and so much more). I’ve shared the site on my Facebook page and converted others–I embraced it! “STFU, Parents” reminded me to keep my own online “sharing” in check, and I usually clicked away feeling pretty damned good about my own parenting, as in, “Well, at least I’m not that idiotic. I don’t change Stella’s diapers on top of restaurant tables, and I don’t purposefully run over people’s feet with our stroller, so I’m fantastic!” But then, in my opinion, the site’s author/editor totally misinterpreted an innocent comment from a well-meaning and most likely very hardworking mom, and it highlighted the dark side of that site. I mean, you can see it everyday in the comment section–some people just hate kids, hate parents, hate, hate, hate! They take the worst of the worst parental examples and treat them as representative of all of us. (Did I mention they loath us?) The site and its rabid followers held this woman in utter contempt–someone who was really only saying, “Yes! I’d love to be as productive as these amazing individuals. Then again, I am taking care of little kids at this point in my life, unlike those folks, so I’m going to cut myself some slack.” The site and its commenters jumped to a much different interpretation: “This person thinks that the world’s smartest and most accomplished people are of no value because they weren’t PARENTS!!!” How they got there, I’ll never know. As they say in advertising, it’s a long walk. I’m wondering if “STFU, Parents” isn’t more than an angry mob. Less fun, and more fodder for parental hate, when all the parents I know are working their asses off for their families (inside and outside of the home), sacrificing and worrying like crazy, and doing their best to raise wonderful kids who keep their straws to themselves. It all reminds me of a giant sticker Stella received from a blues singer, who took a liking to her as he performed on the sidewalk in front of the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market. It reads, “Ain’t no time for hate.” True. Ain’t no time for twittering about stupid bullshit either.

Remember how in a recent, sad post I admitted to examining hundreds of photos of Stella to see if the little white reflections of flash in her eyes were symmetrically placed so as to indicate alignment of the eyes? Well, I realized today that in the photo that was mercilessly cropped in order to fit in the header of this very blog, the tiny bright spots are in slightly different places within each pupil. This may be meaningless. Or it may mean that her eyes were misaligned, though maybe just ever so slightly, all along (least since six months of age, at least). And the enigmatic nature of Stella’s vision problem deepens! My brain is currently yelling, “Amber! Amberrrrr! It’s time to watch Mad Men. Where’s the tequila? Where is it? I can’t hear you! Amber?!”


  1. olga · September 13, 2010

    leesten to zee brain!!!

    (and whoa, dude, you’re right about the little white dots. NEVER noticed. but holy crap, that’s some dedicated looking)

  2. STFU, Parents · September 14, 2010

    Hi Amber! Your post just showed in my alerts. I just wanted to clarify that what commenters post on my site, or any site, shouldn’t be a reflection of the site owner’s viewpoint in any way. Of course, the tone carried through the comments may impact how someone perceives the site, but I don’t condone “baby hating” and do not dislike children in the slightest. 🙂

    Also, my point with that post was that someone innocently posted a positive/uplifting quote about historical figures and it had nothing whatsoever to do with parenting. The comment the parent made was out of left field and so I found it funny. You tweeted at me that “she made a reasonable assumption about the amount of time Einstein spent with his kids based on the era in which he lived.” My point is simply: Every era has its pros and cons and different parenting techniques. I wouldn’t want to assume anything about any of them, because I wasn’t there and it’s not relevant to my life.

    • amberhj · September 14, 2010

      I don’t really know where to begin because a lot of what you’re saying just doesn’t make sense to me and it feels like this discussion is going nowhere. But, I feel I want to explain somewhat… and Einstein’s parenting style is totally beside the point. Until recent decades’ shifts in gender roles, men simply did not spend much time at all on childcare (women spent more on housework than with children until relatively recently, too). There’s hard data on that. An example (in 1965, dads spent 3 hours per week on childcare):

      It’s not silly for a parent, in a conversation about *using your time well* (with those folks as inspiration), to reflect on the impact of inordinately time-consuming childcare on one’s ability to “achieve” and be “productive.” Childcare is important work and takes up a shitload of time, but as we all know, does not typically result in sainthood or Nobel Prizes.

      When you’re a parent, you often feel like you don’t have enough time, which is exactly what the quote was talking about. So it’s absolutely relevant.

  3. Ann Z · September 14, 2010

    I’d never seen STFU Parents. Just spent too much time there.

    I hear you on the obsessive looking at photos for how the reflections line up. I too have gone through every photo of Zoe to see when her eyes started crossing, and zoom in on every new photo. I’ve even started doing that with pictures of friends’ kids. We have a family portrait on our mantle at home, that’s beautiful, but Zoe’s crossed eyes in the picture haunt me.

    • amberhj · September 14, 2010

      I know, I spent way too much time there, too… especially when I first found out about it. Very entertaining usually.

      Ooh, “haunting” really is the perfect word. Perfect. Thank you for sharing that you also struggle with the white dot obsession. Makes me feel less crazy. Sometimes it’s pretty subtle, which can make it even more obsessive. Hard not to want to “figure things out” and get “concrete” answers about the crossing, isn’t it? It all can be so confusing and complex and blurry (in every way), and sometimes, I get pretty sad about it. I would love to hear about how Zoe’s eyes are doing today… maybe you’ve already shared that on littlefoureyes.com or your personal blog — I’ll go look. Zoe is just adorable by the way.

      Thanks again, Ann.

      • Ann Z · September 15, 2010

        Thanks. We’re pretty fond of Zoe, as my husband says, we’ve decided to keep her.

        Zoe’s eyes are almost always straight now when she wears her glasses. They do cross when her glasses are off – but that’s supposedly normal. I do catch her eyes crossing on occasion in pictures, but it’s really rare, and I don’t think I’ve seen it since she got her new prescription June. She’s only just started to talk about how she needs her glasses to see, and that her eyes hurt when she doesn’t wear glasses. It’s nice to have that feedback from her, because while I could see that the glasses kept her eyes straight, I never knew how she was seeing with them.

        I do have a post that I need to finish up that I started after re-reading my first couple posts nearly 3 years ago when Zoe first got glasses, and compare my fears then to what’s ended up happening. I can’t believe that in December, she’ll have spent 3/4 of her life in glasses.

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