Sunday, December 28, 2008


I find it ridiculous that people think that public school is the only, best way for children to become socialized.

Take me, for example.

You know how, in every school, there's at least one kid who is a complete outcast, whom all the others tease? That was me. I'm not playing for sympathy here, just saying it like it is. In elementary school, I got hit, tripped, spit on, called names, excluded. How much do you think that taught me about interacting with other people? Even to the extent most people mean socialization, I missed out on it. As I moved to other schools in other parts of the country later, which seemed a jubilant second chance to me, I still was unpopular. It wasn't as bad as before--I was an outsider, not the one everyone had picked on since they were 6 or 7. I just didn't fit in. I had a couple friends, but I didn't really know how to stay in touch when I moved again, or what friends did together, or how to evaluate how good a friendship was.

Looking back, the fact that I didn't get involved with drugs or sex is purely by the grace of God. I would not have been able to defend myself or known that I should. I don't think I was ever even taught that sex outside of marriage was wrong. I did not grow up in a Christian home (not a bad home, not bad parents, but not Christian).

I moved after my freshman year of high school, and after my sophomore year went to a specialized school for math and science. My husband still finds it funny I ended up there, because I ended up majoring in English, which is a much better fit for me--but it was the school for smart kids, and that did make a big difference. My oldest current friendships are with those who went to the Academy--not all even at the same time. It was my first taste of belonging to a community, and it was where I started getting some socialization--through chess, of all things. It was where I learned I was a geek--and that was freeing. At least one problem I once had--acting violent/angry--completely disappeared. And most importantly, it was where I met my husband.

I'm still a geek. I still lack many social skills other people take for granted. I still have a hard time beginning and maintaining friendships. I will never be normal. I think people instinctively dislike me. Some of this may be appearance, or mannerisms, and some may be my flawed perceptions. I will never be normal, I'm pretty sure. I remember learning in my first high school that the number one thing kids my age feared was not being liked by peers, and I almost laughed out loud.

I am not looking to change my past, which helped make me the way I am. But I can't help but think that I might be different if I had a different school experience. And there is no way I will send my daughter to that sort of environment. Much of my problem may be genetic; my parents don't have a lot of friends, and my husband was never really popular either. He ignored or doesn't remember it. He also had one of those weird school experiences where he was moved up and then held back for social reasons... At any rate, it seems like Firstborn is more likely than most to end up in the position I experienced. And the alternative--that she would be the one making fun of someone else, or that she would just live in a culture where exclusion, mockery and abuse were okay between children--how could I condone that? I know that some parents want their kids to be a light in their schools. In high school, maybe, for a particularly mature teen, but I don't think elementary school kids are ready for that. I certainly don't remember any kids out of the hundreds at my elementary school being a light, and it seems to me that telling a five year old to be like Jesus and throwing them in a public school environment is like telling her to make good nutritional choices and sending her to a candy store every day.

Socialization is one of the main reasons I plan to home-school my daughter.


Monday, December 22, 2008


Last Friday we had possibly the worst ice storm ever in New England. It pretty much missed us.

This weekend we accumulated a respectable foot-and-a-half or so of snow. Having grown up in central New York state, I am unimpressed. Of course, where I lived, they knew how to handle snow. They had big plows, ditches designed to catch the plowed snow, and they never decided not to do anything and left a couple inches standing in the roads. Or at least, that's how I remember it.

This weekend I also made about 19 dozen cookies, and I'd like to get another kind or two done. I made about 15 dozen holiday chocolate chips (one bag of regular chips, one bag of swirled); 4 dozen holiday funfetti. Also did pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate and pretzels drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter on Friday (although that turned out more of pretzels drizzled with chocolate and globbed with peanut butter). We decided to have individual bags rather than family containers this year, and I'll be making between 45 and 50 (we'll do this for all of my husband's mom's extended family, and probably also for his parents and brother's families. And a couple for some of my family.

Today I'm working on Christmas cards, which we bought from a store this year. Usually we get them free from my husband's work (he works for a custom printing company), but this year they won't be getting that due to economy stuff, and also have a forced vacation between Christmas and New Year's Day (their slowest time of the year). My husband could work then anyway--he is a website guy, not in production--but wanted it off anyway. I've sorted out (on my list) those that can be hand-delivered to save on postage.

So it's pretty busy, but I feel like it's under control, which is kind of surprising for our first Christmas with Firstborn (on the outside, anyway). No more presents to buy, though a couple still need wrapping. And I need to sort them.

Today's sign of pregnancy: Well, none, but it's early yet....


Friday, December 19, 2008

Baby stuff

I love my daughter so, so much. Even when I get a little frustrated, one of her big, beautiful smiles make it all worthwhile. I honestly don't mind holding her most of the time--but it is hard to hold her all of the time.

Some days, she is willing to be set down for a little while at a time. Even then, sometimes she is unhappy if I leave her sight. I've heard some people say that I trained her this way--but then, they are also the ones who talk about letting her cry it out. I can't do it. I'll let her cry a little while, sometimes, because sometimes she calms down after that--but I don't think it's good for her to cry a lot. And usually, all it takes is holding her to make her happy. How can a mommy refuse?

I tried babywearing some when she was littler, but it's just too hard on my back to do it on a regular basis. And there's so much it's difficult for a one-armed mommy to do, not to mention that's as hard on my back. So I feel like I keep slipping further and further behind on housework (not that I was ever really on top of it).

Those who have been there: is this my fault, or normal, or just part of Firstborn's individual personality? To what extent will it go away if/when she becomes more mobile? If it's my fault, is there away to avoid spoiling the next one rotten while still meeting his/her needs? I know it's just "for a season"--but I'd like to hear that from someone else, too. And maybe get an idea how long the season is.

I don't think that I am pregnant, at the moment--but I did dream I had a baby. I called him Sam at first, because it went with Firstborn's name, then remembered I didn't like the name Samuel, so changed it to Shem. (On waking, I at first was confused how Sam went with Firstborn's name, but then realized it does. Sam is not on my "list", but Shem is.) I gave birth to him in my Grandma's living room (she lives 5 hours away) just like Firstborn (Firstborn was actually born in a hospital). I was telling Firstborn about this in the dream. She was still the age she is now, and I never actually saw baby Sam/Shem. In the dream I inspected the carpet for stains, and saw none. (The carpet was actually similar to one in one of my parents' old houses; the carpet actually in my grandma's living room was different, and has since been replaced by fake wood floors.

Obviously I would like to take this dream for a sign. But then what would I make of my dream the previous night, in which my sister, Captain Janeway and I sat around a table talking to some very fat aliens with funny-looking eyes?

Today's sign of pregnancy: vivid dreams and chocolate cravings


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Other stuff

I haven't talked much about my daughter. She is wonderful, beautiful, adorable, brilliant, smiley, etc. All the wonderful things everyone thinks about their children. She likes to feel new textures, steal glasses, be held about 15 hours a day, and eat. Occasionally, she gets an exciting opportunity to bang a hard toy on a flat surface. She also enjoys large tags, wiimotes, keyboards, cats, and pureed carrots or sweet potatoes.

A guest blog from Firstborn:

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About "Today's sign of pregnancy":
This is mostly a joke. Before I was pregnant with Hannah, I was always looking for signs of pregnancy. Practically anything can be a sign of pregnancy, so you could always find one (fatigue if nothing else). So it is meant to be tongue in cheek, especially as I don't know I am. It is a way of poking fun at my eagerness and optimism in this area, really.

Some good blogs to check out today:
Making Home on stay-at-home-mommying
Generation Cedar on socialization (I may blog more on this topic myself).

Today's sign of pregnancy: change in breastmilk


Legislating morality?

This is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. What does it mean?

Ultimately, I must conclude: nothing.

There are really two ways to interpret it:

The first is that the law can't tell you what is right and what is wrong.
Good news: it doesn't. No one is trying to pass a law that says "Gay marriage is bad, "Abortion is wrong," or "Believing in God is stupid." That isn't a law. Law governs behavior, not thoughts, opinions and morality. It may (and does) influence these things--but a law that said "Consider others before yourself" would be legally meaningless and unenforceable besides. Law tells us whether or not something is legal, but not whether it is moral. If a law were passed that made abortion illegal, people would still be free to think it was morally acceptable. If the law were changed to say that one man could marry another man, people would still be free to believe that action was wrong.
If one interprets "legislating morality" this way, no law does.

The second way of interpreting this statement is that the law, or lawmakers, can't make laws based on morality. I am not the first to make this point, of course, but--all laws come out of a moral system. All laws "judge" an action as good or not good. Why do we have laws against murder, theft, and abuse? We believe these things to be bad. Wrong. Immoral. Social evils. All law legislates morality. It seems like people use this phrase for issues like abortion and gay marriage, but don't realize or care how it applies to the laws they want made. For example, they want government to take care of the poor. But they forget that the money the government uses for this comes from somewhere. It's not that all this money appears in the coffers and they have to find a way to use it all up. When money is taken from one person and given to another, those doing the taking and the giving are certainly making moral judgments--that everyone deserves the money, or food, or whatever. That some people have too much money. That everyone should share. That charity is good. Take your pick--but forced charity certainly legislates morality as much as "forced gestation." Certainly requiring doctors to take the lives of children, clergy to declare two women "wife and wife," or taxpayers to fund the destruction of small, frozen children forces a certain morality upon them. All legislation legislates morality.

Of course, that leads to another discussion: what does law do? What should law do? When I first considered this question, due to a book my husband had to read for Sunday school, it took me a while to formulate my philosophy of law. I had one, but I couldn't verbalize it. After thinking on it for a while, I decided that I was a libertarian. I used to think that I was the opposite of a libertarian, but that's just because most libertarians seem to have a different worldview than I. Basically, I believe that Congress should only legislate what the constitution allows it to control, and that personal liberty should allow people to do as they wish when it does not harm others.

Of course, there is a lot of disagreement on what this entails. Can an adult make a decision that harms himself or herself? Can another person help him or her carry this out? Can two adults do something together which will harm them both but no one else? What constitutes harm? What if the harm is smaller or larger in comparison to the restriction on personal freedom?

Abortion is an easy one here--abortion kills a child, who has no choice.

Gay marriage is complicated. I'm in the "why on Earth is the government deciding who can get married?" camp. Civil unions for tex purposes for whoever wants them. Marriage is a religious issue, so leave it to churches. This has the neat bonus of making sure that anyone who wants to get "really married" has to find a church, and will probably have to go through a premarital program that includes the presentation of the gospel. At least, it would at my church.

Adultery is another difficult one. Should two unmarried people be allowed to do what they want together? In an ideal world, no. And there is some justification for that view; the spread of disease is a public health concern. What if one of the people is married? What if children are involved? I don't know. I don't think that stoning should be the punishment if it is illegal. No one seems to, even those who think it's okay for the government to compel giving because the Bible commands it.

It gets complicated, no matter what. Granted, my view as a stay-at-home mom not old enough to run for Congress is a little irrelevant.

But it seems like we should all be able to agree that it comes down to more than "legislating morality" or "not legislating morality."

This post was inspired by the discussion of praying for Obama and his family (a good idea for both sides of the aisle) at Seeking Faithfulness.

Today's sign of pregnancy: constipation

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Angels

I believe in angels. I just want to say that to start. Angels are real, created beings that are mentioned in the Bible. Angels have appeared to real people, foretold real events, and there is no reason not to believe that they are present in the world and God works through them.

But there are a lot of misconceptions about angels.
I don't know where they came from, but they didn't come from the Bible. We won't be angels when we go to heaven. We might be like angels, but we won't be angels. And there seem to be so many people who believe that children become angels, or worse yet, are reincarnated angels of some sort sent to Earth for a short time. There are way too many Christians out there calling their children who died early, especially before birth, "angel babies."

I understand the desire people who have lost children through miscarriage, stillbirth, or death in infancy or early childhood feel to give meaning to the short lives, to make there be a reason that they went through what they went through, and the child went through what he or she went through. But it just ain't good theology. Angels are supernatural beings. We have no reason to believe that supernatural beings get conceived in human form, for a short time or for a long one--with one exception.

I don't know whether I had children before Firstborn. But if I did, they were not angels. If I had been able to give birth to them, they would have screamed and misbehaved and sinned and pooped like other children. I don't know whether they are in Heaven, even, really--the Bible does not tell us. God may save them all because of their innocence; He may judge them based on the choices they would have made had they lived; He may have predestined only those who would not have chosen Him to die this way--or only those who would have followed Him. He may have taken them in because they are, of course, "like little children."

But while I may hope and pray they are in heaven, I don't think they were or are angels. (As an aside, I kind of don't know how to pray about that kind of thing, but I know that my God, Who is outside of time and space, understands my heart and knows what to do with these sorts of petitions). I know that they have "fullness of life," but I don't know what that means. Did they finish gestation, and are they growing up now? Did they appear there in adult bodies? Does someone care for them like I care for my born daughter, or are they just worshipping God with everyone else? I have to accept a lot of unknowns, but I would rather accept them than this strange little fantasy that they have grown feathery wings and are fat little sexless babies sitting on clouds--but then, I have to accept unknowns as to whether those children existed. Before Firstborn I was sure; now I'm not. I know that God is good, God is just, and God loves me and all of my children--and I have to be satisfied in that.

Today's sign of pregnancy: abdominal pain

Friday, December 05, 2008

Life: I like it

I have a beautiful, six-month old girl named Hannah Jane.

I have a wonderful, loving, overindulgent husband.
(What's that? You can't breastfeed in the computer room and you want me to hook your computer up to the big screen TV so you can play video games on the couch? I thought you'd never ask!)

There are actually people with big families in my church! Praise God!

I discovered that if I walk in a different direction, I actually have neighbors! There goes that excuse for not engaging my community... Sometimes I walk with a woman who has a daughter barely older than my own. She recently asked what church I attend; she goes to one quite a distance away and is considering switching to one closer. She's at least ten years older than I am.

I have a new niece (my brother-in-law's third child). So Firstborn has a girl cousin six months older and one six months younger. My husband thinks that's great too.

I've been feeling really awful. I'm sure I'm pregnant. Even surer than last month. Much surer than the month before that.

Today's sign of pregnancy: waking up early for no good reason.