Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Good Old-Fashioned Bitch

I try really hard to fight against my judgmental tendencies, especially on other parents. (Bubandpie's comment that my efforts are somewhat successful really made me feel good... and thanks to all the other lovely comments I managed to hook when I went fishing the other day.) But tonight, I just have to give in and have an old-fashioned bitch. Today was hard (not that it's 8:10 pm before I get a chance to blog), although the last few hours have gotten better so first I'm going to list, in boring detail, all the reasons it was hard and how it's gotten better. Feel free to skip ahead to the bitch portion, or just go on to another blog altogether (come back though on another day please)... I'll get more interesting soon.

So, first off, Swee'pea only slept for 20 minutes this morning and spent the other several grumpily refusing to sleep any more, despite the fact that his grumping told me he desperately needed more. Eventually I gave up and got us both fed, and went off to the cookie exchange of my mums' group. I brought store-bought cookies because our oven is broken, we don't want to pay anything into getting it fixed because it's like seriously 40 years old, and we can't afford a new one until after our trip and I go back to work. The hostess (the one with all the boy/girl feminine/masculine comments last week) made me feel like a bit of a knob for doing this, but I thought it was better to contribute my favourite oatmeal chocolate chip moist store-bought Farmer's Market cookies.

Most significantly I didn't get my morning fix of blogging. I spent the 20 minutes of naptime I got looking up daycare and trying to get in touch with the South African consulate about the serious matter of Sugar Daddy not having a valid SA passport when they require him to enter and leave the country using a SA passport (no return phone call yet).

Last night we checked out our first home daycare. She seemed really nice, francophone (a bonus), flexible, friendly, all nice things. The setup seemed not bad and Swee'pea seemed to like it. But the air was heavy with a cinnamon air freshener of some kind, which gave me a sore throat, and as we were coming up the stairs to leave I noticed a distinct whiff of cigarette smoke coming from another part of the house. Her husband. And her husband works at home all day. (My smoke-smelling superpowers are inherited from my mom, which was no fun when I was 16!)

Somehow that discovery tied my guts into a knot all last night, because I was reasonably pleased with her, and if her husband hadn't stupidly lit up while we were there, I could have been fooled. This really upsets me. The several phone calls I made this morning (between 5 and 10) were all to no avail. Everyone was full. It seems the shortage Mad Hatter mentioned a while back has spread to Guelph, which has reportedly had a baby boom this year.

The cookie exchange was not much fun. There were something like 8 babies and their mums crammed into a 10 x 10 foot space, all climbing on top of one another and at least one baby was crying at all times. When I first arrived, only the three women I really can't relate to were there, so I didn't enjoy the conversation much. They're not bad people, but they're pretty concerned with their appearance, they're obviously pretty conservative in their political (lack of) thinking (the problem being not so much conservatism as the lack of thinking or questioning), they shop at Walmart without the slightest hint of regret (I have a friend who shops there, but always says, "I'm not wealthy enough to protest shopping there," or something like that, which I can respect), and when their sons hit their head or fall and start crying they just say, "Oh, you're fine... buck up" kinds of things, and I suspect they would do differently if they had daughters. Just as I was starting to make my exit, Swee'pea started making his must-nurse snurfling noises and fell asleep on my lap in all that chaos so I was trapped there when I really wanted/needed to enjoy his naptime at home.

There were lots more boy/girl comments, and to top it all off, the boy-girl woman also started going on about losing the baby weight, and how she's still losing and breastfeeding really works, and blah blah boring blah. She even complimented my friend's weight loss, who despite her intense wishes and efforts and pumping for three months couldn't breastfeed her daughter. I'm pretty sure my friend thought this was a pretty retarded line of 'conversation.' That woman just irritates the shit out of me. Not only does she make offensive comments without the slightest awareness, but I get really competitive vibes off her. She always has to know how much Swee'pea weighs and looks a bit put-out that he weighed exactly the same amount as her son at their 9-month appointments. I really don't care about their sizes, except that it is pleasantly reassuring as an indication of wellness, but it's not the only indication of wellness, and I don't think it's any reflection on my mothering abilities. Babies are just whatever sizes they are.

Most annoying about this outing, for me, was how I mentally took our my frustration on her son. Like last week, I found myself making snotty observations in my head. I almost deleted last week's snotty comment, but then realized it was kind of integral the next thought, so I left it. I'm not going to share today's thoughts though, because there's no point and I really don't like them. But I think I won't go to many more of these things with everyone. I think I'll try to be a bit more selective and just try to associate with the ones I genuinely like, or at least don't have much difficulty tolerating. For the last few months, I've thought that I shouldn't be like this, but today I am giving myself permission. I don't have to like everyone. And life is too short, and I'm too busy to waste my time with people I don't like. I

Finally Swee'pea woke up and I got to leave (of course I did enjoy visited with the several women who I sincerely like and feel lucky to have met). After we'd been home for a while and Swee'pea got grumpy and tired-acting again, I decided to go buy some South African currency, which I'd planned to do before the cookie exchange and ran out of time (wish I'd known most of the people I wanted to see would be a bit late) hoping he'd fall asleep on the way home. That damn South African rand just keeps rising, so I figure we should buy a bit while the buying's good. Got to the exchange place, discovered they don't have travellers' cheques in rands, only US dollars, which you exchange in SA at whatever rate is going then (kind of pointless in this case), so I had to get a wad of cash (got about 5 1/2 rand to the dollar so it ends up being a big wad no matter how little you get). Then discovered they don't take visa either so I have to pay debit from bank accounts that really don't have anything in them. Ugh!

Got home and found out that Sugar Daddy had to work a bit late, despite my empty energy stores... Miraculously though, by the time he got home, somehow I was feeling better. A cup of tea, washing dishes and spinach while Swee'pea plays in his playpen next to me, then feeding him his dinner apparently has a restorative effect. Who knew?!?

AND, even better, when I called five more daycare providers, one of them has a space available, so we can talk further, and hope that no-one smokes in her house.

AND Swee'pea fell asleep at 7:30, just before dinner was ready, so Sugar Daddy and I got to enjoy a quiet dinner while Swee'pea slept in our bed, and a bit of wine. Swee'pea woke up screaming a few minutes ago and wouldn't be soothed, not even by the Great Boob. Finally he settled after Sugar Daddy brought him downstairs and walked him back and forth, and he is sleeping peacefully in SD's arms. And now I've blogged and bitched, and House is about to come on. So life is ok again.

PS On the subject of Walmart, I laughed out loud, multiple times, at Dutch's post. Really worth taking the time to read his post, in my opinion.

PPS. Now the tv has crapped out. This is the second episode of House I've missed in a row because of the fucking tv. And Swee'pea has started slapping the tv when he's awake, because of how often he sees us doing it. Arrgggh!

PPPS I forgot to mention that my work told today that I can come back three days a week, at least on a trial basis. We'll work the details out next week. So that's good. I will focus on that instead of the House I am missing.

9 comments:

Mad Hatter said...

Yes, Dutch's post is hilarious in a creepy, creepy sort of way.

It's funny. I went to my Mom's group Christmas party on Sunday and enjoyed myself quite a bit. I really like the women in it even if at times I raise an eyebrow at this or that. But I do remember longing to have the weekly commitment of meeting with them in that 1st year over with. By the time I went back to work I was getting a little grouchy about having the same conversations while trying to keep a close watch on my daughter who was a bit older and ergo into more places and things than the other babies. I was also clearly the lax, devil-may-care parent in the bunch. ("what? She's eating cat food? Oh well, I don't think it'll kill her.) I think I drove some of the other moms nuts b/c of it.

Beck said...

Walmart. Ick. My brother and his wife only Christmas shop at Walmart - and they're higher income people, so there's not a pressing economic reason. We've mentioned pleasantly that there are several independent toy stores downtown and that our kids love that kind of toy, rather than getting another piece of plastic crap from the Disney Princess line, but noooooo.
Sigh.
I can only live my life according to my standards, right?
You'll notice I'm not commenting on the cookie exchange bitchery. I went to a bad one last year. BAD.

NotSoSage said...

Ah, Mommy hangs. The only reason I was actually glad to return to work was that I didn't have to come up with an excuse for why I didn't want to get together and chat about every milestone and every bowel movement. I was especially conscious of this because a woman that I became very close to in our childbirthing classes had a child with severe developmental problems and I couldn't stand how hurt she felt every time people in the group started talking about "Oh X FINALLY sat up for the first time last week. I was getting worried that he'd never figure it out."

I just couldn't bring myself to care about that stuff, unless there was an indication that something was seriously wrong.

I went back and read the gender post too, as that's one of my biggest pet peeves. People would always be so embarrassed when they assumed my daughter was a boy and I would say, "Oh, don't worry. If I wanted it to be evident from 100 feet away that she was a girl, I would have dressed her in pink and lace...she's a BABY."

Thanks for bitching.

ewe are here said...

Grrr. Pet peeve of mine. The home daycare woman should have been upfront that her husband worked from home AND smoked; you shouldn't have had to 'discover' it by accident. What if Swee'pea had asthma? Or developed it? I hope you find a more suitable placement.

I admit, I don't understand parents who get really upset when I call their baby 'he' when it's a 'she' or v.v. It happens. They're babies; they don't know!

her bad mother said...

Bitch away, lady - I know well the hell that is the disappearing nap. And - I'll take your store-bought cookies any day. (I'll take any cookies any day)

Mimi said...

I'm glad you're able to turn your mood around -- what did it for me yesterday was (sorry) watching House. It's appointment television at my house. If you want, I can give you a blow-by-blow of everything that happened. All hell broke loose ... the Xmas cliffhanger.

Sometimes ya gotta bitch. It releases the pressure.

cinnamon gurl said...

Wow, thanks for validating my bitch, everyone.

Mimi, I'd love to hear the play by play. Although now I'm really upset that I missed it.

Aliki2006 said...

You are right to bitch, so don't apologize for it! She definitely should have been upfront about the smoking.

I'm glad your work situation is shaping up!

Lisa said...

Great news about being able to go back to work part time.
Its too bad about the competi-mommy in your group. It took me a while to realise that it should not surprise me as much as it did that I didn't like all the other moms. I mean we had babies at the same time by chance and for some of us that was all we had in common. I think you have the right idea about trying to focus more on the moms you enjoy spending time with.