Monday, April 21, 2014

Things I've Stolen

-Halloween candy, from my sisters. Let's just call this "assisted sharing." I'm pretty sure you get extra credit for ignorant benevolence. Warning to my sisters: if you get mad about it now, you lose all eternal benefits. You may also consider it my efforts to help you avoid childhood obesity. Every calorie I ate was one you didn't have to! (also I may have read your diaries a few times ... although you both were horrible at writing regularly so the only significant thing I gleaned from those pages was enduring guilt)

-Sports bra, from the Centennial High School girls' locker room lost and found bin. I had have this weird complex about exercising in non-sports bras. I can't do. Hate it. I might die if I do it. One day in the locker room after school, while getting changed for soccer practice, I noticed I'd forgotten my sports bra. CRISIS. For some reason I thought theft would be better than just keeping my regular bra on. I skulked over to the lost and found bin, a treasure trove of sweat and lycra, hoping no one was watching me paw through its contents. I found a white, Champion-brand sports bra that looked like it would fit. Apparently wearing someone else's used gym bra wasn't as bad as getting my own underwire bra sweaty ... give me a break, my frontal lobe hadn't finished developing. I was just going to borrow it for that day, and it had probably been in there forever, I rationalized. Then I put it on. It was super comfy, my friends. You know how valuable that is in a bra. Naturally, I had to take it home after practice to wash it! Then I figured I may as well leave it in my locker in case I forgot my own again. Then the season ended and I took it home--its owner had forgotten it long ago, surely! No harm, no red card! Then I kept it for eight more years. Then I descended a guilt- and drug-fueled spiral into America's hellish underworld, a dark place ruled by slick-talking immigrant mobsters and the broken women who love them. Then I realized I still had the darn bra and felt guilty about the last eight years I've been living in mammarial sin. What do I do about it now? It is, believe it or not, still a comfy bra, even after motherhood has, ahem, shifted my size. It's like the bra of requirement. Should I burn it, on principle (thus channeling both my moral and feminist impulses)? Donate a new sports bra to a needy high school athlete? Tell me what to do.

I might be wearing it in this picture ... don't look closely, perv!

-A gallon of milk, accidentally, from Kroger. I was shopping with my double stroller, and I forgot about the milk in the bottom basket. I got home and realized my Cheerios would be made with devil milk for the next week. Hopefully the dark creatures I've started seeing out of the corner of my eye disappear when I repay Kroger this week.

This is not how it happened. (Or when, if you notice my pre-baby hair and body.)

-Downton Abbey episodes, from the internet. I couldn't wait! I had to know how Lady Mary was recovering as a widow, I just had to! And what of Edith's lost lover? I couldn't wait another month like the rest of America to find out. Why should the Brits get to see it before me? Doesn't the 4th of July mean anything? But now I feel guilty. As an aspiring author I should be more sensitive to intellectual property. Maybe the best way to make it up is to go watch a bunch of commercials on PBS so they get the advertising revenue I cheated them out of.

I bet you they read each others' diaries.

-All the songs from mix CDs made by high school friends. There's something so charming about a set of songs curated by your best friends. There's the "Songs from my heart" mix by Roseanne*, and the best soundtrack mix ever, culled by my friend Guillermo* to help me through a breakup. And I can't forget that I have Enrique Iglesias' entire Insomniac album burned illegally in my itunes. (*names changed to protect the pirates.) I will delete them all this week, as this blog is my witness.

I bet he can't sleep because he stole some Milk Maid caramels from the bulk bin.

Really, I feel guilty about everything but the milk, because that was an honest mistake. What do you do about mistakes you simply can't make restitution for?

What have you stolen? Feel free to comment anonymously, unless you are an Asian robot trolling my blog.
 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stating the Obvi

I was folding laundry a few days ago when I came across one of Ruby's onesies. "Mommy loves me" was printed across the front in a velvety pink font.

DUH.

Zebra booty.

How is that any different than a onesie that says "I breathe air," or "I am a human baby"? Moms love their babies, people.

There are more subtle ways to communicate that you love your baby. Maybe a t-shirt with "This is free-trade organic hemp" screen-printed with sustainably harvested blueberry ink (only the softest fibres for little Pashmina). Or for the less environmentally inclined, how about something like, "I only watched one Daniel Tiger today, but it was while Mom was glassblowing a succulent terrarium to hang in my nursery." Inferred maternal love right there. Don't make it too easy for people to know you love your kid, and also never pass up an opportunity to mombrag.

Other obvious displays I feel uneasy about include broadcasting words like "EAT" decoratively in kitchens. (I dare you to not think the word "EAT" is weird after browsing that link.) EAT EAT EAT. Gah! On one hand, typography can be mathematically and organically beautiful ... but on the other hand, I imagine what a similar display would spell out in a bathroom. I think I'm going to be smugly clever and spell out "epsilon alpha tau" on my dining room walls. Or, if we're just dealing with imperatives, let's be a little more creative. I think "Oh my heck don't eat that cockroach, Ruby," "Slam that ice cream quick before your toddler wanders in," or maybe "Procrastinate" on the wall above my kitchen desk would be nice decor additions, in glitter-decoupaged, natch.

Here's something that should have been obvious ... that this picture might not be best for selling pioneer garb in the Deseret Book catalog.


And for the record, I love my baby. This is a blog. You are on the internet.
 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How to Feel Intellectually Posh When Surrounded by Poo

Sometimes I feel like my life lacks depth that doesn't have anything to do with how far a berry is lodged in my toddler's nose. Eating Kroger-bought naan is probably the most cultural experience I get in a typical week, and I haven't read any heavy literature since I abandoned The Brothers Karamazov after making it barely halfway through. I understand I am kind of just in that season of life where I can identify with songs from Daniel Tiger more than I can with an aria by Mozart, but sometimes I look back on my college days and pine for evenings at the International Cinema, weekends enjoying BYU theatre (ooo fancy spelling!), and afternoons lounging in my regular chair at the Wilk, a copy of The Oresteia propped open in my hands. Contrast this with my morning today, spent cleaning poop off the legs and hands of both my children (don't ask).

My children care that I feed them at semi-regular intervals, not that I graduated with honors (ok, so nobody else cares about that, either ... but I did! I graduated with University Honors!!)


I'm not ready to completely abandon any intellectual sophistication I acquired in the past, so I've devised a few methods for keeping up cultural morale:

-Listen to music with lyrics in a foreign language. This always makes me feel posh and like I'm living in a new and exciting place, even if I'm just listening while stuck in traffic in my minivan. You can even be really dorky like me and try to sing along with made up words. Your kids won't judge. My favorite Pandora stations right now are Carla Bruni (Italian model turned musician turned former first lady of France) and Rodrigo y Gabriela (This is acoustic, so you can't belt out your feelings with it, but it is great flamenco guitar that makes an excellent soundtrack that livens up even your most boring chores. Doing the dishes was never so sexy.). Any stations/musicians you listen to when you are feeling too much like a bowl of vanilla ice cream from the suburbs?


-Eat weird food. It doesn't have to be prohibitively weird, but I think trying foods that scare you a little bit is fun and it makes you feel smart and fancy. Again, I'm not saying you need to go eat balut, but try eating some type of meat/animal you never saw on your dinner table growing up. You'll feel sophisticated as you ladle mussel curry onto your toddler's plate, check the cook on your bison roast, or Instagram your spring squab with persimmon compote. Frozen pizza never made me feel like Gwyneth Paltrow.

-Watch a foreign film/black and white film. Also, you have to call it a "film." Just try saying it: "Honey, do you want to watch a film tonight?" Your brain just got bigger. Pair your film with an artisan soda float for maximum enjoyment. (Cheat hint: UK films count as foreign! This means Pride & Prejudice, The King's Speech, and yes, even Hot Fuzz).

Watching foreign films will make you as posh as my top hat!

-Read a book from this list. If you need to, just read a few lines a day so you can namedrop that you're "in the middle of Leviathan" without lying. I've been doing that with The Brothers Karamazov for over a year. But really, these books will do more than look great on the arm of your couch when your sophisticated friends come over to share the sea urchin roe you sourced from the excellent fishmonger you met at the midtown screening of Citizen Kane (don't forget a strategically placed bookmark!). These are great books that will make you think, expose you to new ideas, and help you feel like an adult whose literary prowess extends beyond Little Critter.

-Make friends interesting. Don't I mean "make interesting friends"? No. What I mean is that pretty much everyone you meet has some awesome, intelligent hobby or passion that they would love to talk about and share with you if you are willing to stop talking about sleep schedules for thirty seconds. I know how important it is to collab with other parents about kid issues, but I find that my friendships really flourish and provide intellectual nourishment when I dig a little deeper, beyond the obvious, easy talk about babies and weather. Small talk is fun, but it is small! Ask your friends what they do when their kids are asleep or when they get off work. Then ask them what they love about doing that. Talk about what books you're reading, what projects you're working on, and what you're planning for the future. I am consistently amazed at how interesting people are.

If you want to upgrade your brain from a minivan to a Tesla, even if just for a little while, try one of these methods out. Or do you have some of your own cultural coping mechanisms? Please share.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Bath Nightmares

You know what's horrifying? Going to get your three-year-old out of the bath and finding the water full of little brown things ... especially after a week of said toddler battling a particularly virulent GI bug.

A mother's nightmare.

"WHAT is that, Graham?!"

"Ruby gave it to me." (Ruby did, in fact, pass the illness on to Graham, but I doubt he realized that.)

"What do you mean Ruby gave it to you? Did you poop?!"

"No. Ruby picked it up and put it here (gestures to side of the tub)."

Images of Ruby fishing poop from the toilet with her little bare hands swirl through my mind ... thank goodness she didn't try and eat it. At least I hope she didn't eat it. And who left the toilet unflushed and opened? Is Graham just fibbing?

I look closer at the brown bits in the tub. They aren't the usual organic shapes that poo takes on when waterborn ... in fact, they are rather planar, though with jagged edges ... almost like ripped, wet cardboard ... from a toilet paper roll.

I remember finishing a roll earlier in the day, saving the cardboard tube, thoughts of toddler art projects dancing with ambition through my mind. Maybe I'd help Graham fill it with dried beans to make a maraca. Perhaps I'd cut it in half and Graham would construct a charmingly goofy pair of goggles. Or maybe he'd seize it from the side of the tub where I'd lazily left it and proceed to shred it into hundreds of soggy bits that will clog the 70-year-old plumbing beneath our house.

Maybe I'll throw some glitter in the tub to really make it Pinterest-worthy.
  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women

For the past couple years, I have been studying the role of women in the plan of salvation, so when I read a review of The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women on one of my favorite blogs, I jumped at the chance to also read this book. In exchange for this review, I received an electronic copy of the book.

Anyone else think of this?

Written by Dr. Alonzo L Gaskill, an assistant professor at BYU with a Ph.D. in biblical studies, The Lost Teachings of Jesus on the Sacred Place of Women is an examination of a portion of an extra-biblical text allegedly recounting teachings of Jesus. Indian merchants had traveled to Judea and heard Jesus preach, and their accounts were soon after recorded. Scrolls containing these records (reportedly including the words of Jesus) eventually made their way to a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in northern India, where a Russian journalist encountered and recorded a translation of the discourse in the late 19th century. In this book, Gaskill examines a portion of the text that deals with the sacredness of women.

The book shares 13 verses of Christ's teachings on the role, worth, and proper treatment of women. These were fascinating, and I would buy the book just for these verses, in my opinion. Just a few of my favorites:

Verse 10: Verily I say unto you: Respect woman, for she is the mother of the universe, and all the truth of divine creation dwells within her.

Ok, isn't this awesome? For some reason it makes me think of the all the amazing symbolism within a woman's body (menstrual cycle=creation, fall, and atonement; lactation=living water; etc.).

Verse 17: Even as the God of hosts separated of old the light from the darkness and the land from the waters, woman possesses the divine talent of separating in a man good intentions from evil thoughts.

I love how this one hearkens back to Eve's decision to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Verse 18: Wherefore I say unto you, after God your best thoughts should belong to women and to wives, woman being for you the temple wherein you will most easily obtain perfect happiness.

I believe women's bodies are literal temples where the ordinances of conception, pregnancy, and birth take place (which lead to the joy of having a family). I love that Jesus specifically called women temples here.

The rest of the book is broken into sections examining small groups of like verses. Gaskill summarizes the verse(s), then offers "counsel to men and children" and "counsel to women," drawing on scripture and the words of Latter-day prophets. The information and analysis he offered was a great overview of the wonderful potential of women, their honored place in God's plan, and the ways we should treat the women in our lives. While I sometimes felt the "counsel to women" sections were a little patronizing, I do think a lot of women would appreciate his style and approach in those areas. I'm kind of in the middle of my own feminist awakening of sorts, so some of his "women-should-be-on-a-pedestal"-style rhetoric was a little off-putting, but again, I think the majority of readers would welcome his tone as one that is seeking to honor and inspire women.

Some of my favorite parts of the book were when Gaskill's insights as a biblical scholar came through, such as when he noted that the original Hebrew word translated as "mercy/compassion" is originally "womb love," or when he elaborated on the most accurate meaning of "help meet." I just wish there were more of this! I understand that the aim of this book wasn't especially scholarly, but I would have loved more insights into the deeper meanings of the text.

I was fascinated by the origin story of this text, and Gaskill provides two great appendices elaborating on sacred texts outside the canon (both known and yet-to-be-known) as well as a thorough investigation into the legitimacy of the Russian journalist's claims (apparently there is much controversy about the authenticity of the Russian journalist's account). The scholar in me wishes these had been included earlier in the book, but I can understand how this material might not appeal to most readers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this little book. It is a quick, enjoyable read with some lovely ideas on how Jesus views the importance of women. I would definitely recommend it as a gift for Mother's day or for a girl entering the Young Women's program, or else as an addition to your personal library.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I'm Going Pro

That's right ... I am a professional blogger now.

When did I get to this lofty status? Was it when I succumbed to my vanity and ditched the ".blogspot" from my domain? Was it when I published my 100th post (a gripping exposé on Graham's refusal to eat normal amounts of food)? Or what about that time I dared to blog about the ethical implications of peeing in my bishop's pool, thus catapulting the literary caliber of this blog from "random neurons bumping into each other within Kimber's brain" to "deep, sensual journalism that exposes the inner workings of small-bladdered mothers in the gritty metropolis that is Houston, TX"?

No. Because as wonderful as those blogging moments were, they didn't make me any money, which is kind of the standard criteria in determining whether someone is "professional" at something (except being a mom blah blah blah preaching to the choir!).

But all that changed recently, when I received a lovely email from Amazon informing me that they needed more information from me in order to MAKE PAYMENT for advertising fees, meaning someone had clicked an Amazon link on my blog AND ACTUALLY BOUGHT SOMETHING.

I logged into my Amazon affiliate account like a cheetah, curious to see what had been purchased and, more importantly, how big my payday would be. Maybe it would be enough for some trendy baby moccs (because we all know that is really the mark of a professional blogger). Or maybe just enough for the blue nail polish I've been lusting after as of five minutes ago when I was trying to think of a low-priced item that I would like. Heck, maybe a song on iTunes?

Or maybe 72¢.    ....so not even enough for a song.

And I don't even get paid until I've accrued at least $10, which will probably happen when I'm forty.

Do you want to know what the mystery shopper purchased on Amazon?


A Superman snuggie.

For some reason this seems very appropriate. I'd like to think my readers are lovers of art, fashion, and America, and let's face it, this snuggie embodies all three. It's not something I ever linked to, so I'm assuming it was found through a particularly treacherous Amazon rabbit hole, fraught with banana slicers and unicorn meat. I hope whoever has it is reading my professional blog right now, wrapped in their cozy polyester Superman pelt.
 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Why?

When Graham was just a little burrito in the crook of my arm, his eyes wide with wonder at anything from a lock of my hair to our ceiling fan, I would hear mothers complain about their toddlers' incessant lines of questioning. "Why this? Why that? Why can't I put Cheerios up my nose? Why is my nostril too small?" I would sigh at their exasperation, promising myself that I would never blunt my child's quest for enlightenment, but would rather greet his appetite for discovery with the lush fruits of knowledge from the garden of his mother's wisdom. Once intellectually fed, my cherub would return to his imaginative play, and I would resume lotus pose.

Calm amidst the storm ... call me Mother Earth (as it is depicted on my toddler's train table)
Fast forward two years.

**

Me: (insert any statement)

Graham: Why?
 
Me: (insert any statement)

 Graham: Why?
 
TIMES INFINITY PLUS ONE.
 
Me: BECAUSE GOD MADE IT THAT WAY!

Graham: Why?

**
In the Costco parking lot today. "Where is the sun?" "Behind the clouds." "Why?" "Because it's a cloudy day." "Why?"

The boy is insatiable, and now I understand the exasperation. Why? Why? Why? Why?

Because Mom needs some ice cream.

Sat Nam.



Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to Impress Your Mother-in-Law

Nathan's parents came to town for Christmas, which was great because it saved me two flights with two children, and I also love my in-laws. My mother-in-law, Dana, is kind, funny, and a domestic goddess whose homemaking and motherly wisdom sometimes rubs off on me.

Graham and Ruby look really glum, but I promise they love their grandparents.

I want Dana to like me and think me worthy of raising her grandchildren, so I try to impress her. Here are some things I tried that might work for you:

1. Clean your house, but be sure not to clean it too much. An immaculate home will make it obvious that you're faking it, because no house containing a toddler (with a lazy mother) is ever perfectly clean. Instead, clean it just enough that your mother-in-law will know you respect her, and she might also be fooled that your average day-to-day level of cleanliness is higher than it is.

2. Forget to feed your baby for about seven hours. During that time, go shopping, inhale some Sprinkles cupcakes (carrot cake and dark chocolate) and visit the salon to get your hair cut (while your mother-in-law watches your exhausted, hungry baby). The key here is to share the Sprinkles cupcakes with her. Chocolate covers a multitude of sins. Also, you are showing that you are comfortable with her taking care of your children. Grandchildren can be a source of conflict with mothers-in-law; share your cute grandbabies!

My legs aren't really shaped like that.

3. Welcome basket. This was probably more of a treat for me, because I love putting stuff like this together. I remember being so excited when I heard my older sister was stressed out during finals week her first semester at BYU, because it gave me an excuse to make her a care package.

We only have two bedrooms, so to complement the overwhelming luxury of them sleeping on two twin mattresses on the floor of a room full of toys, I decided to put together a swag box. I tried to cater the contents to their interests (I know my father-in-law, Bryce, loves nuts, and Dana loves chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds). Beyond that, my philosophy in curating the box was basically, "What awesome treats would I love that I always feel guilty buying for myself?" That's where the chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, lip balm, and magazines came in. Because you don't feel guilty when you're buying presents for someone else!



4. Make her finish your craft projects.


Dana makes the most amazing Christmas stockings in existence. She made Nathan's, refurbished mine, and finished the one I started making for Graham. She taught me how to embroider, and I really enjoyed it, but I was having trouble finding the motivation to finish the project ... so she did it for me (including cutting out those awesome letters). Then I realized that by making such an awesome stocking for Graham, I had inadvertently committed to making one FOR EVERY CHILD I EVER HAVE. Seeing as how Graham's took me almost two years to make (and I didn't even finish it on my own, ahem), I was panicked. That's when I sheepishly asked if she would continue making them for all my children. Dana is a benevolent crafting goddess, and she said yes. I don't know how this is supposed to impress her, but maybe my eternal gratitude will make up for my own crafting lameness.

Dana asked for a peacock, and I made her a peacock!

5. Commiserate over the duties that attend the holidays. Let's face it, in most families (okay, all that I know of, but I don't like superlatives), the mom is in charge of the bulk of Christmas. Presents, food, traditions--they all largely fall on mom's Christmas-sweater-adorned shoulders. Even if you feel like you have nothing in common with your mother-in-law, you're both women, so bond over all the work that is foisted onto women during the holidays (this post was written for daughters-in-law; the son-in-law/mother-in-law relationship is an animal I have no experience taming). Dana and I could relate to each other about how hard it is to track down presents and then manage the shipping of said presents, all while staying within the frugal pipe dreams we call Christmas budgets. If you need something to talk about during other times of the year, try these universal woman issues: finding a bra that fits, managing hair in different climates, or the fact that the #1 cause of death in girls 15-19 is childbirth.
I told Dana my secret discovery that showing some leg on even the coldest winter days will get me out of parking tickets. Just kidding; Dana told me that.

Mothers-in-law are great. They birthed your spouse, they love your children, and if you play your cards right, they might even watch your cherubim for a week while you go on a cruise.


In-laws are great. Here's Bryce playing with Graham and Dana feeding Ruby in the background.

Why is your mother-in-law awesome?

*this post shamelessly sponsored by Brownie Points & Co.
 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

5 Little Monkeys: A Study in Medical Philosophy

While singing the popular children's song Five Little Monkeys (Jumping on the Bed) for the tenth time the other day, I realized that the lyrics illustrate a lot of my opinions about the doctor-parent relationship. Here are my thoughts:

1. The doctor is not in charge of the monkeys health, Mama is! Mama is the one making decisions for her monkeys, not the doctor. I hate when I hear things like, "Get your doctor's permission before [insert activity]." Guess what? Your doctor is not your mom or your boss or God. You don't need his permission to do anything!! If you decide you'd like his input or expertise with an issue, you call him and then make your own decision. (Note: I've chosen to use the masculine pronoun in regards to "the doctor" because women aren't smart enough to be doctors, duh!)

 "Dr. Monkey" by Dan Mills

"Mama" is the one who ultimately decides to let her children continue jumping on the bed. The doctor is a consultant. "Mama" calls the doctor to ask his opinion, he gives it, and then she does what she thinks is right, taking into account several factors, including and not limited to: the doctor's input, her own intuition, and the insight gained from her knowledge and experience with that particular child. In Mama's case, she decides to disregard the doctor's advice in favor of her children having fun and learning from their mistakes. Her monkeys aren't living in a bubble! Keep jumping on that bed while I catch up on Downton Abbey!

This little monkey jumped a little too hard ...

2. Preventative medicine is best. I like the doctor in this song because he doesn't tell Mama to bring her kid in for needless MRIs, physical therapy, and a round of intravenous antibiotics, all potentially for the purpose of covering his monkey bum or padding his wallet. He tells her how to prevent the problem in the first place: stop jumping on the bed, dweebs!

Monkey can't sleep. He'd rather be jumping.

3. The doctor was reachable by phone. I know doctors have lives, but I think the fact that Mama was able to call her doctor--not an answering service or a nurse--shows that they have a good relationship. Do you know how many times my kids have gotten worry-level sick Monday-Thursday (our doctor thinks Fridays are part of the weekend), from 9-5? ZERO. It's always late at night or on the weekends.

Our favorite hypochondriac. This kid moped on the couch with an ice pack for two hours after Nate pulled his arm a little funny while playing.

I would love a doctor who trusts his patients with his cell number. That being said, if you are the type of neurotic crazy mom who would have the doctor on speed dial and call to inform him whenever the texture of your baby's poo changes ... you are ruining it for the rest of us. Also, when did house calls go out of style? That would be awesome. For now, I guess I'll have to be content with the nurse hotline provided by my insurance company, even though I only remember that this resource exists when I get a pamphlet about it once a year in the mail.

4. The doctor respected Mama. Even when she calls him for the fifth time, clearly after disregarding his previous advice, the doctor still offers his professional opinion and help. I don't expect my doctor to agree with me about everything, but I do expect him to be respectful of my role and responsibility as the mother of my monkeys. You should never put up with a doctor who talks down to you, ridicules your choices, or won't listen to your concerns.

I love how it looks like this mama monkey is collabing with her trusted pediatrician. They work side-by-side, not against one another. via

I switched pediatricians a week after Ruby was born because the doctor was unprofessional and disrespectful to the midwives who had attended Ruby's birth (which took place at a birth center I had chosen after thorough research and prayer). When I confronted her about her behavior (a rude phone call made to my midwives, within earshot of me, followed by her continued mocking comments made to her nurses), she started spouting off a bunch of medical jargon meant to intimidate me back into submission. I never went back. A doctor who doesn't respect you and your right to make decisions regarding your family's healthcare does not deserve the money (thousands of dollars if you have a newborn who needs a year + of immunizations) you will bring to their practice.

5. The doctor didn't jump to conclusions and call CPS. Even though Mama's monkeys are getting bumps, the doctor doesn't overreact and accuse Mama of abuse or negligence (letting them jump on the bed isn't the same as letting them jump off a roof, contrary to what the helicopter moms at the playground might think). I know this one is probably a rare occurrence, and I do think physicians should watch out for evidence of child abuse, but this happened to one of my best friends, initiating a huge ordeal for her family that could have been avoided if the doctor had investigated the cause of some mysterious bruising more thoroughly (they were a result of a recent infection).

Managing your family's health can be complicated enough without throwing a crummy doctor into the mix. I hope you have a great pediatrician who is respectful and qualified, and who also stocks interesting magazines in the waiting room, employs nurses who don't wear Skechers Shape-ups, and has a bowl of good candy at the check-out counter.

P.S. I updated my "About" page. I know everyone's been waiting for that like Christmas morning.
 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Teenage Telepath

Sometimes when I'm being an awful person, I think snotty thoughts about other people. Then I worry that the person I'm mentally being bratty to can read minds. What if they can hear what I'm thinking? Are they just super good at pretending they can't read my mind? How long did it take them to perfect their poker face even while someone nearby is thinking "Wow, I really don't like her capris," or "The name she picked for her baby sounds like something a teenage girl at a new school would choose to call herself because she thought her given name (Beth) was too boring and easy to spell." At least I've learned to only think my name criticisms.

If I'd named her Rubijanedella, you'd think it was dumb. I don't care how nice you are.

Is their power limited by proximity? Or could it be magnified somehow, Cerebro-style? I seriously wonder about these things, because I think it a real (though small) possibility that they could be reading my mind. Why do I entertain such paranoia? Because my mother knew someone who was telepathic when she was in high school.

She was my mom's friend from seminary (daily religion class Mormon kids go to in high school). Let's call her Oda Mae, for the sake of her privacy and because my mom couldn't remember her full name anyway. Oda Mae confided in my mother one day that she could read minds, and my mother believed her. This blog post would be more interesting if my mother could remember exactly how Oda Mae proved her abilities, but my dear mom's memory is about as murky as the contents of the plastic cup Graham likes to backwash into, so all we know is that my mother, who despite her memory actually has a lovely intellect and a keen skepticism (just ask my high school boyfriend!), completely believed Oda Mae.

In seminary they used to play a game called "scripture chase." The teacher would call out a clue that led to one of fifty notable scriptures from the curriculum that year, and the first to know the reference and open to the correct page would win. Oda Mae would always win, because she had the advantage of knowing the reference a few seconds before everyone else, having just plucked it from the seminary teacher's mind.

Me and my non-telepathic, yet gorgeous friends.

My mom remembers asking the teacher one day to let her call out the clues, hoping to level the playing field a bit. Instead of choosing a scripture reference and mulling over it while the class quieted down from the last round and Oda Mae scoped her consciousness, she'd blurt out the clue as fast as she could think of it, giving Oda Mae no advantage. Poor Oda Mae ... not only did she know whenever anyone hated her bell bottoms, now she couldn't even dominate scripture chase!

Oda Mae had another strange ability. If she called someone to mind, she could envision where they were and what they were doing. She recounted to my mom a particularly traumatic incident that occurred when she thought of her boyfriend, the stake president's son, and saw him using the bathroom. Oh, the life of a teenage clairvoyant!

High school is turbulent enough without telepathy. Please note that this was taken in my little sister's room, so I can't be ridiculed for the Beanie Babies, Viggo Mortensen poster, or motivational collage seen in the background.

I always wondered about where my mom's friend ended up. She could have worked for the FBI's missing persons unit, finding people as quickly as she could think of them. Or maybe she became an extremely talented child therapist who could understand even the most troubled kids. Or maybe she couldn't take the collective mental drama of everyone around her, all the time, so she lives quietly in the Ozarks, working the night shift at the Waffle House down the mountain.