pattern of accommodation
OKAY BRAIN, THAT'S ENOUGH
Although I have accepted the fact that for some reason my body clock has shifted forward, so that I am up at dawn and in bed by 11 pm unless I have a compelling reason to stay awake (such as you saying, “Another beer?”), FOUR-THIRTY IN THE MORNING is pushing it. So, brain, here is my list of demands: Sleep longer. Quit coming up with the upsetting dreams where Nora somehow goes missing or gets hurt. Cease the skittish anxious twittering, so that even without caffeine I jump about three feet in the air when a plastic bag blows across my path on the way to the train station.
Also, enough with the hyperemotionality. Last night LT very graciously drove my sister home after our wine-and-cheese get-together, so I handled the bath/book/bottle/bed routine by myself. Nora was weirdly hyper last night, and was all over the place while I tried to make her bottle. I heard her yell, “BEER!”* and turned around just in time to see her pull out a Sierra Nevada from the open 12-pack on the kitchen floor, and my mind flashed forward to the scene where she drops it on the stone-tiled floor and there is broken glass and beer all over my formerly clean and uninjured baby. So I yelled “NO!” and took it away from her, and grabbed her arm rather roughly to remove her from the scene, and although my reaction did not seem to distress Nora one bit I got kind of weepy later. Which is ridiculous, as that will hardly be the last time that I yell at or overreact to my kid, but when your brain is not behaving (see above) it is altogether to easy to slip into self-flagellation mode. Because, of course, I'm Doing It Wrong. Bad Mommy. Etc.
*Yes, this is one of the words Nora knows. Shush.
THE MYSTERIES OF LITERARY TASTE
I love my mom. She's a librarian, and she loves books, and she did a lot toward making me love books as much as I do. That said, I am not sure I entirely get her taste in books, so we don't do a lot of book-recommending to each other.
For one thing, she is a freak about India. She will read anything that takes place in India, that features Indian immigrants, or was written by an Indian-American author. I know this was the flavor of the month for a while, so maybe she was responding to what was on the library shelves, but it seems to go beyond that. I just find it amusing that my mom, who would have an instant Hygiene Seizure upon setting foot in even a mid-range Delhi hotel, would be so interested in all things subcontinent.
My mother also likes Quirky Kicky Sex In The City-type novels about single girls and such. This is also something I find hilarious. Mind you, I am not saying that one has to restrict oneself to books where the protagonist's life circumstances resemble your own. But my mom keeps enthusiastically recommending these types of books to me (whose life also has nothing to do with Quirky Kicky Sex In The City-dom), and her latest rave was The Big Love. Apparently she thought it was really, really funny. So I read it, because I love the funny, but the funny just was not there. I am now baffled. I know I have a tendency to take people's book recommendations too seriously—there have been entirely too many times when a friend's revelation of their favorite book causes me to think of them differently, which is judgmental and evil of me and I am trying to work on it.
(Funny side note about book recommendations: Kat has a soft spot for sci-fi and fantasy books, and although she knows that is not normally my cup of tea she sometimes tries to get me to read that kind of stuff. Years ago, we were book-chatting and she said, “Oh, I have a book you would like.”
Me: Is it one of those fantasy books?
Kat: Kind of. But not really.
Me: Okay, what's it about?
Kat: Well, it takes place on the border between our world and Elf World…
Me: Stop right there.)
In contrast, a book that I am loving right now (although it is not at all funny) is Unequal Childhoods, about how social class affects the way parents raise their kids, and about how the different styles of parenting confer different later-life social advantages. However, one style (the middle-class parenting style) becomes privileged because the things it teaches mesh more completely with the values of dominant social institutions. HEY CAN I MAKE IT SOUND ANY MORE BORING? But it's really not, and I recommend it highly.
THE MORALITY OF CHICKEN SWINGING
Yom Kippur approaches, and the building of sukkah has already started in my neighborhood. If we happen to be home during it, I am so taking Nora outside to watch the kapparot, which for the past few years has taken place in the synagogue parking lot at the end of our alley. One could argue that it is not entirely politically correct for me to go gawk at someone else's religious ritual, but then one could also argue that maybe the group in question should not hold that ritual in full view of a public sidewalk. Or maybe they should not have made it so inherently gawk-worthy! I mean, ritualistic chicken swinging! How could you not gawk!
The kapparot thing is troubling in that is it not all that great for the chickens, although in my neighborhood at least it seems to be practiced on a very small scale. And although I don't eat meat and I hate the circus,* I am not the sort to dump your steak in the garbage and hand you a PETA pamphlet, or to never speak to you again after I learn of your visit to the Big Top. So I think I will just appreciate the chicken-swinging for the wacky spectacle that it is, and not get myself in a moral lather about it.
*Partly for animal-rights reasons, and partly because of clownophobia.
SPEAKING OF MORALITY
On this quiz, I lined up most solidly (95%) with Kant, and was least aligned with Plato (that's not surprising). I almost barfed when I found out that Ayn Rand had garnered a respectable 40%, but maybe I was just feeling particularly corporate and narcissistic that day.
QUEER EYE FOR BIG GIRLS (WHO DON'T CRY)
Nora had her first non-kitchen-scissors haircut yesterday. She was very solemn and dubious about the process but she did not freak out. Her stylist was named RICARDO, and he was wearing a prodigious amount of bling, and the whole scene totally cracked me up.
—mimi smartypants is considering bangs.