Archive for July, 2011
Indecision 2011

This has been a smashingly good summer.

I know I complained about being sick during the first part of the summer, but since approximately mid-June, I’ve been feeling pretty fantastic!

R and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a marvelous trip to coastal Maine.  We took our kayaks and spent some time on the water.  We wandered through art galleries.  We ate lobster.  We had a glass of wine with every meal.  We got massages.  It was most excellent.

While on our trip, H went on a camping/fishing excursion with his grandparents.  H caught a 17-inch bass.  We are so proud.

H started swim lessons this week.  He’s doing great!

We’re doing other things, too.  Like visiting the library and the aquarium/science center.  Tending our small garden (we finally have sugar snap peas!).  Going on hikes.  Enjoying “picnics” on the front lawn.  And fitting in those house projects, slowly but surely.

H begins preschool on Sept. 1.  I go back to work (part-time) on August 29th.  I’ve started prepping my class, but I won’t have too much done ahead of time.  It’s just been hard to do it with H around.

I’m also feeling conflicted about work stuff.  For now, teaching 1 class/term is clearly a good choice.  It helps me keep my CV current, I get to feel like I am doing something productive outside of the house, etc.  And because I’m teaching an evening class, we don’t have to fuss with daycare.  These are all good things.  But I am starting to have second thoughts about pursuing the usability business.  Although usability research could be interesting, I keep feeling this tug back to my original field.  I just can’t shake the feeling that I am abandoning learning about the brain.  I feel like there’s something I am missing.

I recently submitted my very last manuscript from my postdoc.  Now I have no more data.  And I am jonesing a little bit.  I feel like I need to plan an experiment, execute it, and let the data roll in.  And today, I had a weird experience.  H was having his annual pediatrician appointment (that kid weighs nearly 37 pounds now!).  The pediatrician recalled a conversation we’d had 2 years ago, where I shared with her my controversial and as yet, untested, hypothesis about the effect of prenatal SSRIs on later development of autism.  Today, the pediatrician showed me a new paper just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, which is suggestive of such a link (although causation still hasn’t been established).  It got me thinking about the animal model I had designed around this very idea, how I wanted to run some kick-ass studies to explore the model, and how everyone I talked to thought it was too speculative and too risky.  And now, here is some evidence to support it.  It made me think that I really know what I am doing, even if no one else seems to think so.  Several months ago, my postdoc advisor told me I was welcome to come back any time to tinker in the lab if I want to.  It was a nice offer.  And it’s tempting.  But I’d be a volunteer again.  And for what?  Would I be taking a step backwards?

I feel like I need to be choosy about my commitments these days.  I can only take on things that are going to advance my career, since I’ve already wasted 8 years building a career that just can’t happen here.  I keep thinking about how doing clinical neuropsychology would be right up my alley (and I would have a job here), but as I concluded months ago, it would be a long and expensive road.

Do I just need to teach part-time for a while, and think about it all some more before I delve into anything new?  It’s clear that I am conflicted.  It’s clear that I am not 100% committed to any one decision.  Maybe I should volunteer for the Brain Injury Association of Vermont.  Make some connections, learn some new things.  Maybe that would be good.

One question that has thrown me for a loop at the playground is this:  ”Are you a stay-at-home mom?”  I wince whenever I hear it, and I quickly reply no.  Yes, you can hate me for saying this, but I’m just being honest.  I don’t know why the question always makes me feel so insulted.  I think it’s because the phrase “stay-at-home-mom” is insulting.  I don’t know any moms that *just* stay at home.  We’re all running around all the time, doing our parenting at the pool, the park, a restaurant, a friend’s house.  It’s not like mothering is relegated only to the private sphere, to be kept out of the public eye, like nudity, sex, or drug use.

But also, I feel like it’s a judgmental question.  Stay-at-home moms probably think I am selfish for working, and working moms probably think I lack ambition.  I am in the purgatory of the parenting work world, having “stayed at home,” worked part-time, worked full-time, and everything in between since having H.  I don’t really feel like I belong with any of them.

My best friends in VT do not have kids.  In some cases, they won’t ever.  And that’s awesome.  Nearly all of my friends in VT with kids are those who already had kids at the time I met them.  And now I am rambling.

I don’t know where I am going with this, other than to say I am nearly 100% sure that all of the moms I know struggle with career/identity/balance issues.  And also, I am nearly 100% sure that I have had conversations with nearly 0% of them about this fact.

Why is this?

some quotes

A selection of H-bomb quotes from over the past year or so. Many of these you’ve probably seen before on Facebook or Twitter… but I couldn’t resist a round-up like this:

  • “I can’t use the potty because my butt is not real!”
  • “Bus is my safe word.”
  • “Do you like my Ouroboros sander?”
  • H. on the ice-maker: “It makes tears and sunshine.”
  • “I work at the White House. Downtown.”
  • “Pork chops are the lobster of steak.”
  • upon seeing a Domino’s delivery car: “Pizza taxi!”
  • talking about our car: “Can we paint it fire engine red?”
  • R.: “If someone asks you where you learned to play doctor, you tell them ‘Columbia Medical School’.”
    H.: “Ha! That doesn’t mean anything!”
  • ♬ If that diamond ring won’t shine ♬ Papa’s gonna buy you a dump truck bird! ♬
  • H.: “Pee comes out of my penis. Poop comes out of my butt.”
    R.: “Yes, that’s true. And what comes out of your mouth?”
    H.: (pauses to think) “Snakes.”
  • “I’m plowing the rug.”
  • ♬ head – shoulders – knees & butt – knees & butt ♬
  • H.: “What’s that?”
    R.: “It says Nature’s Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola with Omega-3s.”
    H.: “No. It says Cheerio’s.”
  • “I’m making truck soup.”
  • H. (holding a calculator): “Fix it.”
    R.: “What’s wrong? What are you trying to do?”
    H.: “I’m trying to watch a video.”
  • “It’s bed time if you fart.”
  • “I’m a paradox in my own business.”
  • H. (playing with his new toy cooktop): “Mommy, I’m cooking some vegetables!”
    A.: “What vegetables are you cooking?”
    H.: “Bacon!”
  • “…and then Santa will come in through the water pipes!”
  • H.: “Cute cute cute.”
    R.: “Who’s cute?”
    H.: “The babysitter.”
  • “Grasshopper ass-whopper.”
  • R.: “Do you want anything else?”
    H.: “I want Rice Che— I WANT ANYTHING ELSE!”
  • R.: “Do you want to go home and nap?”
    H.: “No. I’m talking.” (image)
  • after being presented with a bowl of ice cream: “Warm it up?”
  • R.: “Papa farted—what do you say?”
    H.: “Thank you.”
  • “I’m talking about whining.”
  • upon seeing a hot rod: “Car wad!”