Saturday, December 16, 2006

the art of the combover

Oh yeah, so we did end up decorating the tree last weekend.

It's a bit smaller than our old tree(s), so we had to do some picking and choosing with respect to ornaments, but in the end we decided to go with the Chinese zodiac set that Joe's sister gave us last year. I also got two strings of battery-operated Christmas lights from Walgreens, in the interest of not having anything tempting plugged into the DANGEROUS! NO TOUCHING! electrical outlets. They're LED lights, so they're not supposed to get very hot either, which is nice. I chose what were labeled as "white" lights, for which I would have accepted any lights that were either 1.) white, or 2.) yellowish white, as Christmas lights often are. However, upon inserting the requisite 4 AA batteries and flipping the switch, I found that "white" actually means "bluish grey," which certainly lends a certain spooky spectral look to the whole affair.

The rooster ornament we saved for the top of the tree, since Cal was born in the Year of the Rooster. (Or, as some Chinese restaurant placemats will helpfully indicate, "The Year of the COCK." Ah so.)

And this horse ornament is a little strange. I don't get what the picture of the guy on it is supposed to represent. Why are his legs broken? And why are his arms tied with strings? Most probably he is being drawn and quartered. Merry Christmas!

* * *

I get very worried about choking risks. I know that probably all parents worry about choking risks to some degree, but I think that I am sort of abnormally attuned to the issue. What is abnormal, you ask? Contemplating not buckling your child into the highchair because it will only delay the speed with which you can extricate him in order to do back blows--that's abnormal. Eyeing your child's neck in a restaurant trying to figure out the exact spot to do an emergency cricothyrotomy--that's abnormal. I KNOW THAT.

Probably I am just extra concerned because I'm an anesthesiologist, and all I think about all day long is THE AIRWAY. That's how we say it too, all in caps, THE AIRWAY, the most important thing ever, in the history of EVER. Airway airway airway!

But the other day, Joe was looking at this little toy stroller that Cal has, and fingering a piece of the frame that had become uncovered.

Isn't this toy kind of dangerous?

What, this sticking-out part? The fabric seat thing just fits over it like this.
(Readjusts fabric to cover the frame)

But it slips off again so easily.

Yeah, but that's OK. It's just a blunt metal rod. It's not pointy or anything.

It's exactly the right size to plunge into his orbit.

So maybe it's not just me.

* * *

With respect to my previous entry, I think that many of the commenters hit the nail on the head. While most of me wants to be the Primary Parent for Cal when I'm home for work, part of me resents it when it is assumed that I will take almost all childcare responsibilities to the exclusion of all else. Would I rather take care of Cal instead of reading journal articles and textbooks? Almost always. Playing with baby = fun and easy. Cracking open Barash at 9:00pm after working a full day = boring and hard. However, would I appreciate being offered the chance to choose studying over childcare more often? Of course. Would I enjoy the chance to have even half an hour to myself once in a while, as opposed to being at the constant beck and call of my patients/attendings/nurses/offspring/pharmacy overlords? Well...yeah.

Not to say that Joe is a sexist pig, because he will certainly do anything child-related that you ask him to...but implicit in that statement is that I do have to ASK him to do it much of the time. And hell, I'm feminist and all that. I went to Wellesley, for chrissake. Votes for women, step in time! I don't know if it's sexist or retro or what, but part of me does think it's different for the mom. I have male classmates with children, and I have female classmates with children, and overwhelmingly the women are the ones that feel strapped and guilty and overwhelmed...or at least we talk about it more.

It is a myth, by the way, that you can have it all. Sorry! But true! Don't get me wrong--if you work hard, you can have a lot, but it's impossible to devote as much time to parenting, work, and enriching yourself as you could if you had one or two fewer things on your plate.

So I guess it's like the art of the combover. There's not enough of you to go around, but there's a way to arrange yourself such that the bald patches are less noticeable. You just have to judiciously decide which spots are going to get covered, and which spots can afford to look a bit thin. And making those decisions is hard.

No good answers, just the simplistic observation that I'm CONFLICTED and it's all very COMPLICATED. But good thing it is. Otherwise, what else would women have to argue about with each other online?

Just kidding.

(Not really.)

* * *

Finally, some pictures of Cal from the park this morning.

Shockingly, going to the playground was MUCH more fun than being holed up in front of a ream of study material! However, Cal is down for his nap now, and the ream beckons.

Currently reading: Unless you're an anesthesia resident, you're probably not going to be interested. (OK, it's "Big Blue.")