Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Trying To Be Smart? Don't Use These Words

I am certainly not a grammarian, my vocabulary leaves something to be desired, and spell-check saves my butt far more often than I’d like to admit. This, however, does not stop me from judging others for their inadequacies when it comes to the use of the English language.

As a sequel to "Trying To Be Funny? Don't Use These Expressions?", I now present you with “Trying To Be Smart? Don’t Use These Words”.

Unkept- You could maybe have an “unkept” promise, but please promise to say “unkempt” when you are referring to a person’s disheveled appearance.

A “mute” point- The point is not mute. It, in fact, does make a sound. The sound it makes, however, is irrelevant, because the point is “moot”.

Shmozzle- Simply put, this is not a word. However, I often hear people use it to describe a situation that is messed up. Eg. “It was just a big shmozzle”. First of all, the word is “Shlemazel” not “Shmozzle”. It is a Yiddish word used to describe a person who is down on their luck, a failure, and kind of generally pathetic. Thus, a situation cannot be a shlemazel. A person is a shlemazel. George on Seinfeld, for example, was kind of a shlemazel.

Orientate- This is used so much that I think it’s actually become a word (my spell-check thinks it’s a word, so it must be a word, right?) But if you’re a traditionalist like me, you know that you are not getting “orientated”, you are getting “oriented”.  In the same vein, you are not conversating, you are conversing. By the way, “conversate” really isn’t a word. Even spell-check agrees with me.

What are your favourite misused words? (No, I did not just misspell "favourite". I'm Canadian, and that's how we spell it here.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Trying To Be Funny? Don’t Use These Expressions

For whatever reason, (maybe because I've been spending way too much time reading random crap on the internet when I should have been cooking/cleaning/being generally productive) I have been thinking a lot about overused expressions and words. So, as long as I'm already wasting time, I figured I would compile a list of these overused expressions. I will preface this list my admitting that I use all of these expressions, so I won't judge you if you do too.

1. The word "hilarious" is often used when the more appropriate word would be "funny". See, "hilarious" means "really really funny", but it is frequently used to describe things that are just regular-funny.

        Eg. "Did you just eat that entire box of cookies? That's kind of hilarious."

No. No it's not kind of hilarious because things can't be kind of really really funny. It just doesn't make sense. But then, maybe it's the juxtaposition of "kind of" and "hilarious" that makes it....a little bit hilarious? I don't know, but we're all over the over-the-top words. Awesome. Perfect. Fabulous. It's a big superlative party, and I want to go home.

2. “…Just Saying.” I think people think that if they follow whatever they say with “just saying”, it allows them to say whatever the hell they want (and makes them funny?)

        Eg. “You probably shouldn’t have eaten that entire box of cookies. Just saying.”

Um, no, you are not just saying, you are “just” being a douchebag.

3. “Remember the time when…”  to refer to something that happened 30 seconds ago.

       Eg. Person eats entire box of cookies. Said person then says “Remember the time when I ate an entire
       box of cookies?”

Okay, this joke is seriously overplayed and passee, and it’s not even funny. Remember the time when we used to make Remember-The-Time-When jokes? Well, that time has passed. Move on.

4. “May or may not have” used to mean “did” with a hint of guilt.

        Eg. “I may or may not have eaten the whole box of cookies”.

Yeah, it’s an annoying, overused expression, but I contend it’s still funny, and I may or may not continue to use it.

5. “And by____, I mean _____.”

        Eg. “I ate a few cookies, and by a few, I mean the entire box.”

Yes, we all know this one. We also know its not-so-distant cousin, the strikethrough,

        Eg. "I just ate a whole box of  a few cookies”.

I personally love the strikethrough, and you will likely see me overindulging in its deliciousness from time to time. And cookies too. I was the one who ate the whole box, in case you were wondering.

On Motherhood and Domesticity

I wrote a post on BlogHer about my lack of (but slowly increasing) domesticity, and they featured it.

Check it out:

Motherhood Made Me A Domestic Goddess By Necessity

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Teething (And Other Earth-Shattering Achievements)

My eight month old daughter got her first two teeth! Yes, I know. You don’t care. But I care, and since this is my blog, I’m going to tell you all about it.

So my daughter is in her high chair and I’m feeding her some healthy pureed organic crap, and she opens her mouth, and there it is! A tiny, adorable almost-tooth! Then, a couple days later, another one!

This is huge! She started crawling a few weeks ago, but for some reason, I think I’m even more excited about the teeth, which is kind of weird since it’s not like I have any special interest in teeth. Actually, I generally prefer not to think about teeth because it reminds me of the dentist which reminds me of having cavities filled, which reminds me that I haven’t been to the dentist in two years which reminds me that I need to go to the dentist. Oh, and I’m afraid of the dentist. Did I say that?

Anyway, back to the teeth. If you’ve been within a 50 mile radius of me lately, I’ve probably asked you to look at my daughter’s amazing almost-teeth.  For some unfathomable reason, no one really seems to care. Whatever. Nothing is going to kill my buzz.

I’m so excited, I almost peed my pants. Wait, no, I did pee my pants. Oh wait, no, nevermind, that was the baby peeing on my pants. God, can no one invent a leak-free diaper? Calling all engineers, astrophysicists, and all generally smart people. What is wrong with the human race? We put a man on the moon like forty years ago, but we still can’t keep the piss in the diaper. Seriously.

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children first visit the dentist by a year of age. You better believe I’ll be following that recommendation- I get to hang out with someone who actually wants to talk about my daughter’s teeth!

So, yeah, my daughter’s teeth are awesome. But I’m not going to post a picture or anything like that because I don’t want to be one of those annoying moms who thinks that everyone should care about every little insignificant detail in their kids’ lives. Oh…umm..okay, wait, nevermind. But I’m still not posting a picture! And you should care! Because, my baby has two teeth, and it’s kind of a big freaking deal.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Attachment Parenting My Own Way

I never carried my baby in a sling, I don’t co-sleep, I’m not breastfeeding, and I used the “cry it out” method to teach my daughter to sleep. According to many proponents of attachment parenting, I certainly don’t meet the criteria of an attachment parent. But I beg to differ.

As a social sciences student in university, I read a lot about attachment theory, and none of what I read discussed baby-wearing, breastfeeding or any of the other behaviours that popular media has led us to believe are prerequisites for connecting with our babies.

John Bowlby, the psychiatrist who originally developed attachment theory, believed that a child’s relationship with his/ her early caregivers was integral to his development, particularly with regard to his/her subsequent relationships.  Since then, numerous academics have expanded on Bowlby’s work, and attachment theory has become highly influential in the fields of social work, psychology, and psychotherapy.

Briefly, attachment theorists believe that a child develops a secure attachment to his parent when the parent provides a “secure base” from which he can explore the world.  Basically, this means that the parent responds to the baby in a consistent, sensitive, loving manner, and raises the baby in a safe, predictable, caring environment in which his needs are met and he learns to trust others.  Children raised in this manner are said to have a “secure” style of attachment, and thus develop a secure sense of self and others, have the tools necessary to learn, and grow up well-equipped to form healthy relationships.

In contrast, children who are raised by abusive and/or neglectful parents never form a secure attachment with their caregiver, and thus are programmed from a young age to view the world as unsafe, and to see others as untrustworthy. They are considered to be “insecurely attached”, and as adults they often develop a whole slew of emotional, mental and functional problems. 

This is a highly over-simplified explanation of attachment theory, but I think it serves to paint a general picture of the difference between the childhoods of the securely attached individual and that of the insecurely attached individual.

Fast-forward to 2012, and you can barely open a newspaper or magazine without finding an article about attachment parenting. But we seem to have lost focus somewhere along the way about what it really means to raise a securely attached child.  We are told that we should be “wearing” our babies in order to foster a strong bond between parent and child. We are told that we must, must, must breastfeed our babies, or else something really really scary and bad might happen. We are told that our babies must sleep in our beds, because cribs are apparently, super, super scary and lonely (really?). We are told that sleep training (Cry-it-out), and scheduling are what cruel and selfish parents do for their own convenience (don’t even get me started on this one.)

Since when did parenting come with such proscriptive rules? For the record, I think that baby-wearing, co-sleeping, breastfeeding etc are all wonderful things if they are right for your family. If something doesn’t feel right for you and for your baby, then there is probably a reason for that. Some people who call themselves attachment parents would argue that I am most certainly NOT an attachment parent, because of some of the child-rearing decisions I’ve made. 

For example, I chose the “cry-it-out” approach to teach my daughter to fall asleep unassisted.  I shouldn’t have to defend my decision to do this, but I feel like I need to.  I did not do “cry it out” for my convenience; I did not do it out of frustration; I did not do it out of impatience. I did it because it was the kindest thing I could do for my daughter.  Every night, she would be awake for hours, crying in desperation, clearly feeling tortured and miserable. I didn’t know what was wrong until I finally realized that she was exhausted, and although she was desperate to fall asleep, she just didn’t know how.  I tried everything, but nothing was working, and she was becoming increasingly irritable and wakeful. Sleep training resulted in my daughter learning to fall asleep unassisted, getting good quality sleep, and having a noticeably happier temperament- all of which are more significant for her long-term development, than the fact that she was left to shed a few tears for a bit before falling asleep. I truly believe that it would have been cruel to not do cry it out with her.  This is not to say that I think everyone should do cry-it-out type sleep training- quite the opposite. All I am saying is, do what is right for you family, and try not to get caught up in all the judgement, the labels, and the “expert” opinions.

Please know that I am not criticizing attachment parenting. As I said, I really do consider myself an attachment parent. What I have a problem with is the people who think that everyone needs to practice certain particular parenting strategies in order to raise healthy, happy children. Parenting is hard enough. Why make it harder on ourselves?  There is an infinite number of “right” ways to raise children. I don’t know what’s right for your family and you don’t know what’s right for mine.

So, if I consider myself an attachment parent, but I don’t practice any of the behaviours commonly associated with attachment parenting, then what is attachment parenting? In my opinion, attachment parenting is parenting in a way that leads your child to develop a secure attachment style so that he or she develops a strong sense of self and others, and grows up to form healthy relationships.  This leaves a lot of room for interpretation and I think that's just the way it should be.  Attachment parents love their children, respond to their needs, are consistent, and make their children feel safe and secure. There are so many ways to do this, so don’t be afraid to shirk the trends, and don’t be afraid to follow the trends. Love your baby the best way you know how, and I will do the same.

Friday, 1 June 2012

I Don't Care What My Car Looks Like, But I Want A Luxury Stroller

Strollers- I’m obsessed. I don’t know what has happened to me. I pretty much spend all day thinking about strollers. Okay, obviously that’s not true. I also think about important things like coffee, youtube, and rubber duckies, but I can’t be serious all the time.

When I was pregnant, I had a very practical outlook towards strollers. I bought the smallest and cheapest stroller I could find that was compatible with my car seat. Simple as that. I thought it was ridiculous when I saw women strutting around with their SUV strollers, and I was shocked and disgusted to learn that there were strollers that cost over $1000. Sigh, I was so innocent and na├»ve then. Now I’ve gone to the dark side, and I’m a full on stroller addict.

Actually, I’m kind of a stroller player.  I walk down the street shamelessly checking them out and fantasizing about them, but I can’t commit. I’ll date a stroller for awhile, reading its reviews, and lovingly stroking its frame in the store, but that’s about as far as it goes. I’m just too afraid of commitment. What if I choose the wrong one and he lets me down? What if he turns out to be unreliable? What if I grow to hate and resent him? What if I fall in love with a better stroller, but now I’m stuck in this lukewarm relationship with a stroller that I should have never bought in the first place? This stroller stuff is stressing me out.

I’ve had a crush on the Bumbleride Indie for awhile. This stroller seems like a great choice- he can handle all kinds of terrain, he only weighs 20 pounds, and he’s HOT! He’s like the George Clooney of strollers. But what if my love for the Indie is based solely on physical attraction, and it’s not really the right stroller for me?

I think my real fear is that once I do finally commit to a stroller, all the fun will be gone. I won’t be able to walk down the street, and think “Oooh, I like that one! Maybe that will be my next stroller!” because once I commit, I’m not going to buy another one. I mean, I’ll dream about it, of course, but I fear my husband is soon going to get jealous of the strollers and stage an intervention.

Maybe I don’t even want a new stroller. Maybe it’s just about the thrill of the chase. So, if you’re out walking, and all of the sudden, you see a crazy lady running towards you, don’t worry. It’s just me, and I’m not chasing you; I’m after your stroller.

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