Location: Southeastern, United States

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Intellectual Life of Alex M. Pseudonym

"If You Give a Pig a Pancake" is by no means as good as "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie". I had high hopes, but "Pancake", while well-illustrated, succumbs to a hyperactive and fantastical sequence of events that could not be more different from the gentle tone and mellow pacing of "Cookie". If one is in the market for "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" sequels, I recommend "If You Give a Moose a Muffin", which retains the calm and amicable spirit of the original.



Blogger Dale said...


"I was a great parent before I had kids." -- I don't remember who came up with that line, but I still remember the line.

I would have said much the same as you, I think. Some of it's worked out just the way I expected -- no TV, lots of reading aloud, thoughtful sensitive good-hearted kids that I'm proud to have brought into the world. Some of it hasn't worked out at all. We eat lots of fast food. My kids don't even regularly do chores, let alone other work. One of my kids inherited my love for math, and the other my love for literature, but neither of them cares for languages; my ambitions for a polyglot upbringing never got off the ground.

I don't know. It's a mixed bag of successes and failures, but what strikes me most forcibly is that it hasn't been at all what I expected. & I don't think trying to make it more like I expected would have been a good thing. So it makes me nervous when you start working up expectations.

And it makes me *really* nervous when you talking about doing it on your own. I just can't imagine doing it without someone to poke awake at 4:00 am & say "Look, I'm about at the end of what I got. Can you take over?"

Okay. Just had to say that. I think you'd make a wonderful, wonderful mother, but I hope you'll wait for a bit, and get a partner first with whom you're comfortable embarking on a twenty-some year joint-venture.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Your kids sound pretty awesome to me, though of course I'm only reading about them through the eyes of a proud papa.

I'm pretty sure the parenting plans are actually about my current job. Imagining myself as a professional instead of a day-laborer or passenger seems to be the sanity-retaining tool I like best. (This makes me suspicious of my aspirations to the professorship, to NGO work, and to parenting, all together.) While having kids is important to me, all the hypothesizing and planning is mainly my way of trying to make sense of this world I'm in the middle of now that centers very exclusively on child-raising, kindermusik, John Rosemond and AP and stay-at-home vs. outside-work moms. I've just sat and thought this over for a while, and I can't think of a single expectation I have of an actual child I will actually produce - in fact the idea was abstract and new to my brain - besides that I would be rather pleased if he or she had brown hair. I have _suspicions_ about what sort of child I may inevitably produce, mostly because I compare the children I work with to myself at that age. Families seem to run in basic types. The characteristics I listed are the types my family tends towards, and also the same type as my favorite child-care kid.

I think I latched onto _single_ parenting, on the other hand, because I'm sick of reading books / watching movies about the perpetual pursuit of the Right Man for whom to sacrafice the Job and get the Ring so that you can have the Baby your biological clock so craves. Seriously. I think if Charlotte of Sex and the City would go away - all evidence of her vanish - then my single-parenting threats would too. It's just that last shred of hope that I could one day have a kid or two without sacraficing my dignity to the pursuit of Man first.

That's all. Thank you for the compliment! I think I'll be good at that stuff too, someday. It's good to have suspicions that one will be great at something fairly permanent; one doesn't want to be too great at being twenty-something, or a student, for instance. One might want to keep with it indefinitely.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Oh, I see. I commented on the wrong post; no wonder it vanished on me! Tho I was thinking that fate had done me a favor, disappearing a priggish and wholly unneeded lecture.

Now I understand much better. Yes. The pursuit of the Great White Male, which will make every piece of life magically snap into place. Loathesome. I know many lives that have been blighted by that myth.

Thank you for responding to me so good-humoredly!

10:33 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Oh it's fine to lecture at me; while I am perfectly rotten at taking well-meant advice in real life, I seem not to be bothered by it on the internet. It's certainly not the worst response I've heard to my purported parenting plans; my mother, bless her heart, likes to gossip about them at _boy scout meetings_. I've been called a man-hater to my face before.

It's always valuable to question one's motives; most of the analysis in my last comment I hadn't done before you posted.

Yeah the Great White Male myth is a doozy, isn't it?

11:50 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home