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  • This lurgy is still kicking my arse.
  • Am increasingly irritated by friend-cum-childcarer who consistently cancels on me despite friendship & us paying her twice what she gets from anyone else (whom she does not cancel on). Upset by potential whininess & entitlement on my part vs obvious devaluing of my time by not doing paid work on her part, as exhibited by SMSes to inform me of non-arrival 11pm night before, and increasingly late morning arrival (with occasional cancellations in the mornings, apparently due to sleeping in on her part). Thinking will just cancel all childcare arrangements, attempt to save friendship. May be health issues on her part (but then why none of the four other days she works seem to be affected?). May be coloured by next point however.
  • Have wicked PMS.
  • If child agrees to learning to toilet, can send to Montessori preschool, as know it has vacancies. Although expenditure = :(
  • On other hand, child out of house x5 days = more time to work on home business, look for more solid employment.
  • Employment means we could potentially buy a Roomba. Am kinda craving a Roomba. If I calculate that child-detritus can be tidied sufficiently to make it a valuable investment.
  • All currently moot, until lurgy is defeated.
  • PS.This Clinique foundation is a better colour than anything I've tried so far (all WAY too dark, ugh spare me the fake tan). May be solid investment for high-maintenance & performance days.
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Part 1: Valuing Toughness and Aggression
...Boys don’t have to look hard for examples of the tough guy in popular culture—he is seen all over the television dial, in advertising, and in the books based on popular TV series. He is held up as a sort of ideal (in sharp contrast to “wimpy” smart guy characters) and he teaches boys that success comes from being aggressive.

Increasingly, the influence of this character can be seen in boys’ clothing. As the examples below demonstrate, scary imagery, with its undertones of aggression, appears on clothing marketed to boys aged one and up...

Part 2: The Brat
...I’m not saying that one t-shirt will transform a boy into Bart Simpson or Harold or George from Captain Underpants, but clothing is part of the continuum of male stereotypes that dominate children’s popular culture and one that we should pay attention to. You would not allow your daughter to wear a t-shirt that says she is a shallow ditz (and I’m sure such a shirt is available somewhere), so why allow your son to tell the world he is big trouble, too lazy to do his homework, or a devilish mischief maker? Would you outfit your daughter in scary skulls (not the cutesy pirate motif, but the “Dawn of the Dead” stuff)? If not, then why place your son in such clothes?...
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I am so, so in love with this picture of a Spanish gypsy woman breastfeeding. Look how casual she is about it; just something she does every day, all the time! She's beautiful, unashamed and busy living her life, being herself. I love her strong stance and features, that smiley squint she's got going on. The little girl, watching and smiling, the faces in the background - it's all fabulous.

And men should totally not have the vote. The violent sub-animals. Or something.
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We still get together with most of the group of mothers and children we found ourselves amongst at the Early Childhood Centre. Monday was a baby shower at someone's house. Two of our number already have second children, tiny bobble-headed things compared to our sturdy two years olds, who rush across the landscape like dervishes now.
"My goodness!" exclaimed the pregnant mother at her baby shower. "B, this house is covered with parenting magazines!"
"Mine has magazines all over", volunteered T. "But there, they're food."
And mine has craft and sewing magazines.
The disparity of tastes and strong preferences struck me anew as I looked around. The mothers I find myself spending the most time with are not people I'd normally have picked for friends; their personal interests tend to different arenas than me. But early motherhood forged a bond. I wonder if we'll stay in touch, in years ahead. I would like to thnk, at least in some cases, we would, even in the form of the lone Christmas card and family photograph once a year.
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Tyrant is reliably, correctly identifying colours without prompting quite often, these days. This thrills my arty-crafty heart as we can now play colour games and identify objects more readily during discussion, by using colour adjectives.

The only two he consistently has trouble with are green and red. Which he often gets mixed up.
This is stressing Fairy out (because over our child he is more of a -very quiet- stress bunny than me). I'm just finding it interesting, given that neither of our families has any recent history of colour blindness, and I'm waiting to see if it's just normal toddler fumbling after meaning or continues to occur in a year or two. I suspect fumbling.

My goodness, it's strange to be the calm, practical one counselling my partner, for a change!
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Firstly, HOW badly do I want to buy my child this shirt?! About as much as I want to dye my hair bright purple at the moment (READ: A Hel of a lot!)

Second, a post on Native Appropriation Bingo. It's geared specifically towards the appropriation of Native American cultures, but has quite a bit of relevance outside that sphere.
Cultural appropriation is something I run up against inside my own head and life a bit, lately. I LOVE fashion and clothes for instance, and love alternative styling, which means stuff outside the modern, Western, mainstream world interests and inspires me particularly. I can't pretend there's not some internal exoticisation going on there, but then some of it feels like it is a simple appreciation and notice of something different to what I'm usually exposed to.

More appropriately, I ruminate on the questions of cultural appropriation and exotification every time I go to bellydance class.
I LOVE this dance form. I don't want to give it up. It feels far more comfortable, easy and enjoyable to me than something more culturally relevant according to my heritage (ballet, for instance). But then, I'm aware that bellydance as it's performed today is a new danceform, sprung from a mix of ballet, appropriated traditional dances, various bits of stagecraft and ideas from all over. So although we learn about different styles and musics to go with those styles according to where the dances "came from" it's still a bastardised form of what existed there pre-Western invasion, and the version I learn is diferent again to what is currently being taught in those places (and others in Australia, for instance!). It's this weird mix of Western dance, appropriation of other dances, and fantasy. I'm not sure if that makes it "okay" though - especially when considering how my teacher stresses the importance of not dancing with Turkish moves to a Saiidi (Egyptian valley) piece/beat, and vice versa. And how the groups likely to be hiring those of us who dance professionally expect us to dance (i.e, matching steps with certain beats, etc). Bellydance is certainly more elastic than ballet, but it DOES have forms and rules.

Finally, today I am fucking sick of reading shit that assumes I am a heterosexual male. It fills me with rage beyond rage to be happily reading along an interesting, generally addressed piece of social commentary or joke about University life and find myself SLAPPED OVER THE HEAD with the idea that I a)want and/or have a girlfriend and b)Am a male/unconcerned with my looks.
It ruins totally decent and interesting thoughts just like this one.
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I feel terribly housewifely when vacuuming with the new dyson Wicked Fairy and I bought together. Our previous vacuum cleaners (there were two) were a tottering elderly mammoth technically owned by the housemate, and a manky, ageing upright my ex had before I ever met him (That relationship went for seven years, this one has comprised five thus far with a gap of about a year between the two... it was old).
Fairy saw a doco about Dyson and got terribly excited when we thought about buying a new vacuum and insisted we get that brand. I find this supercute.

I have had a very self-focussed few weeks and have forgotten birthdays, events and arrangements as a result. I am still working hard on achieving a healthy balance between committments and space in my life. The past month has been an example of my not achieving that yet.
My self esteem has grown enough in past years that I do not consider this A Moral Failing Indicative Of My Complete Terribleness As A Human Being, however.

Fairy has painted one of our MDF bookshelves (finally), so our loungeroom is coming together a bit more and looking a little less Uni-student (not to mention the shelves being more toddler resistant as a result of wipeable paint). For some reason pale blue enamel paint finish looks smaller than bare, mid-brown MDF.

There's a mountain viewable from some of our windows. I know when it's going to rain, because the mountain becomes crowned by cloud up to two hours beforehand (but usually less).
We have washing on the line and I am watching that mountain. So far, so good.

I think I'm going to ask my sister for help in thinking about my home business idea. She's a clever cookie about such things, and I hope it may give us something to do other than get ticked at each others' attitudes to social issues (She thinks I'm sanctimonious and deliberately nasty, I think she's hopelessly privileged and shallow and I expect her to be more aware because she's not stupid).

Being okay and content right in the moment is still a new enough experience to me that it surprises me. But I like it.
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It's January 26th. "Australia Day", the national day of my country, my homeland.
For what feels like most of the people around me, this is a day for BBQs, swimming, getting drunk with friends and draping oneself in polyester flags. I've spent most of the day feeling worn down, teary, frightened and nauseous. Worn down and teary because of all the overt racism on forums that is cropping up. Teary because the wave of it all feels so damn huge. It seems like there are far more of "them" than there are of "us".
The racism is what makes me nauseous. People talking about how they don't care about "what happened in the past" (ignoring what is happening now, how it's an outgrowth of that). People telling me to go live somewhere else if I don't like it, that i'm too young to have an opinion that matters, that OMG I'm NOT racist!!! as if because they lack a swastika tattoo or white hood they're exempt from prejudiced behaviour, from being influenced by the whole morass of what they've grown up in.

So I flit around the internet, and find that there is a quieter group of us NOT celebrating this day. I take hope from this, that maybe the racists, both joyful and thoughtless, are not winning this particular culture war. And I thought I'd share, because a lot of people are saying what I'm feeling, with far more skill.

The Ausmerican's take.

Hoyden About Town talks about Opting Out.

John Birmingham thinks a lot of the celebratory messages amount to dumb-arsed compulsory nationalism.

And a woman called Mary writes about why she wishes you wouldn't tell her a 'Happy Australia Day'.

So yeah, I'm really sorry, white girl (who commenetd on a friends' blog) that the name "Invasion Day" makes you sad. If it's any consolation, I'm sure all the people who were killed or had relatives killed after the white people got here are feeling pretty darn sad too. congratulations, though. Your thoughtless racism was the final comment that made my whole world black out for a few seconds there, as all I wanted to do was scream out how angry and sad and frustrated and disheartened the attitudes of people like you make me.
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Know what I don't like? Stumbling over crap in my psyche that I had forgotten about or thought I was completely over.
Tonight's super-special issue is the one where adults refer to anyone under the age of 18 as "a little shit". Children and adolescents are not excreta. They are not crotch-droppings or any of the other delightful epithets the virulently misanthropic regularly employ in their description of large swathes of the human race, and a stage that we must all pass through.
I'll concede you spawn (I quite enjoy referring to the Tiny Tyrant as "my spawn"). I'll even allow you that sometimes children and teens behave mighty shittily, pressing all your buttons for no very good reason, or even no reason at all. But that behaviour is not the only thing that defines that person. They are not, in and of themselves, shit.

My stepfather referred to me as "a little shit" and "a (little) bitch" in conversations with other adults. Not all the time, and not knowingly whilst in the same room. But enough. Enough times and places, and in a loud, entitled enough voice, that at ten and twelve and thirteen I got to hear these words applied to me by someone who I lived with, who was meant to be one of the adults looking out for me, that I was supposed to look up to. He told other adults around us that this is what he thought of me.

So before you go applying that phrase to that child, I want to ask you: How much like a piece of human waste do you think they really are? And aren't you glad nobody ever flushed you down the toilet, and you never got to hear the suggestion that your entire being was worthless and useless and associated with all things filthy, disgusting and wrong? I know I could've done without it.
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From a woman younger than I, (who as far as I know didn't live at the house) in regards to the loud drumming (as in, from a drumkit) that I was complaining about emanating from the premises. She was about the right age to be the girlfriend of the fellow who drums. Whose parents own the house, so far as I know.

I lost it.
I didn't rant or rave or yell. I DID swear. Once. And felt dirty and ashamed, afterwards. Not just for the swearing, but for the blast of emotion, being overcome by feeling.

How long has control been a marker of breeding and class - specifically the upper classes - in Western society?
I have some notion that it's linked to the Victorians.
Certainly, in current society we consider control of emotion and reaction to be a marker of adulthood, as [personal profile] mossy pointed out in her recent post over at Mothers For Women's Lib discussing how "behaving childishly" is linked to behaving in a manner that is lower on the pecking order than the person doing the accusing.
Working class people are often depicted as being drunk (with attendant abuse and anger), joyful, exuberant in their expressions. I'm reminded of that Simpsons episode where Marge wants to join the country club, in fact - and the difference between Homer and the children's expression of their feelings versus the reserved manner that Marge's new friends used even when being nasty to her (such that it wasn't utterly ridiculous when it was revealed they were going to be welcomed to join permanently, towards the end of the episode).

Has all this pontificating and intellectualising helped my situation any?
Not especially, but I've calmed down significantly, and am probably going to be speaking to the local council; about Noise Abatement Orders!


Oct. 13th, 2009 10:19 pm
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I'm home again, from far north Queensland, where all the roads seemed to be dusty highways and everyone seemed to smoke like chimneys (which is to say: permanently).
It is such a blessed relief to sit down to a meal without the stench of old ashtrays wafting from my dining companions, to not be concerned about what my son is imbibing with that dropped food item from the floor under the patio table. I fight myself constantly, to strike the balance between helicopter and involved parenting, but never more so than when family is around. I think, as a parent, I have far less influence and input into my son's development than I would like. Everything else around us conspires to fight me, to make him unthinking, gender-role normative, unseeing of his privilege, and I can feel so terribly overwhelmed, so lacking in ability and energy and the emotional buffer-space I need to be able to push back (I'm still fighting myself on using spoon theory to refer to my mental/emotional state w/r/t the effects of my depression and anxiety. Food for thought in the comments linked, though).

My father bought my son a 'Lock up Your Daughters" t-shirt, as a belated birthday present. I am so, so terrible at hiding strong feelings, and I think my eyes glazed a little as I put it on the pile of clothes and thanked him. I wonder how many more such things the Tiny Tyrant will acquire in the next few years? And what's the best way to address this sort of crap with him, when I feel too defeated and repeatedly rebuffed to go at it with the family member in question, once again?
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So a few years ago I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety.
A little part of me got up and danced, singing "Hallelujah!", another part exclaimed "Well, DUH!" and I had this weird mixture of relief, gratefulness and exultation at having finally been taken seriously by a medical professional, and a sense of shame and disappointment that there really was/is something 'wrong' with me.
I know now that it's not normal for most people to throw up because they're worried literally sick about something they said or did offending or upsetting people. Most adults don't cry themselves to sleep for the same except in rare circumstances. They don't find themselves crying for no reason at all, at various points through the day, or suddenly have difficulty breathing because their chest feels two sizes too small for their lungs.

I realise now that I was very lucky. The first course of SSRIs my doctor suggested to me worked really well; minimal side effects, that passed quickly, and although everything didn't get "All Better" it got so much easier. I could make it through my day without obsessive worrying about others' opinions of me or reactions to tiny things. I could sleep at night. the random crying jags stopped. I could explain how I felt to others, again. It was wonderful.

I told my mother, a few months after I'd begun taking antidepressants.
But when I was growing up, my father's family... they used to sit around the dinner table talking about people they'd gone to school with, children of acquaintances, who'd killed themselves, or tried. Girls who'd had anorexia, men who were now schizophrenic. They used the word stupid a lot. They were scathing. They had no sympathy at all, for any of these people. None.
I was shocked, before my diagnosis. I didn't understand how they could have so little empathy for anyone in trouble, in pain. After my diagnosis, I was afraid.

And last night, two years after I stopped taking the antidepressants, I finally told my father about it, during a phone conversation. And I told him why I'd never said anything before. Still waiting for the fall-out from this one.
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Ever since we finished that first package of plastic nappies (the hospital insisted we buy and use them) we've been a family with a cloth-bottomed baby. The nappies go out every day, and in those fifteen months, I have put the nappies into the machine maybe enough times to count on the fingers of one hand.
It began with a discussion about the division of labour pre-arrival, was reinforced by my inability to even sit up unassisted, let alone get down the stairs of our townhouse to the laundry in those first weeks (and then the enormity of attempting to lug a basket of washing down to the line without my two pieces of stomach ripping apart like badly hemmed chiffon) and has settled into a habit, part of our household routines.

It has ripple effects.
Like the box of new detergent sitting on the windowsill this evening. The one I didn't buy.

We are still a ways from perfect, from splitting things evenly down the middle. Even down the middle, given the strictures of an outside world and work imposing its schedule. But two years ago washing was something that happened... maybe. Maybe once a week. Never for anybody else. So that cardboard box is hopeful, to me. It's a sign of what has changed, what can change.
We're still a ways off perfect, but we reach for it anyway.


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The Evening Star

July 2011

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