Sunday, August 20, 2006

Odds and ends; out of sorts

I haven't updated in a while, because I feel like I've been all over the place, mentally, and didn't feel like I had anything cohesive or coherent to say. Today isn't really any different, but I figured I'd post an update anyhow.

In good news, the girls are thriving this summer. Becky is having a lot of fun and is growing taller by the hour, I think. She's very emotional these days; cries whenever she doesn't get her way, stomps off, and uses grunts and moans when frustrated. We're working on this, getting her to communicate more. The rest of the time she is delightful. Last weekend we went to the zoo and she had a blast. We didn't do the whole zoo, but did go to the aquatics building and she studied each and every tank of fish. We went also to see an exhibit called Touch where you can actually touch a stingray and a small shark. B was very excited until we actually got to the tank. Our friend L and her son N were with us; he's 10 and has been to the exhibit before so he was doing his best to encourage Becky to try it out. After several minutes she finally got her nerve up to stick her arm into the water but then the animals were not swimming close to the edge. Oh well.

Carly loved the zoo too; the primates were her favorites. She was sunny and happy the whole time, and enjoyed being carried around by L. We have been bad about getting to the zoo this summer but we'll have to try to squeeze in another trip before it's too cold. We didn't get to see some favorites, like elephants and giraffes, so I promised the girls we'd go back.

Carly is so much fun these days. She is standing regularly and crawls at lightning speed. One of her favorite things to do is to try to cram her mouth with dog food before Jim or I get to her. I noticed today though that when she sees me approach, she takes the food out of her mouth on her own. Good girl! She is totally off baby food; refuses it completely, and really enjoys what we are eating. She fiiiiiiiiiinally popped one of her top front teeth and I think the other is on its way.
She waves and sometimes claps, laughs delightedly at the dogs, her parents and especially her sister. The two of them can get giddy at a moment's notice; it's hilarious and heartwarming to witness.

I'm glad for this distraction because I am feeling at loose ends. I am so not enjoying my job these days. We're terribly busy and I want to learn some technical skills that would help me, but I am continually sidetracked by phone calls and emails from employees. A group of us were told earlier this summer to basically suck it up and start working a few more hours a week. The meeting where we were given this message was basically confrontational on the part of our Boss. We (four in my work group) had prepared information on phone call tracking we had done, since the constant interruptions affect all of us. Before the meeting he had told me that he had a possible plan to hire someone to do more of the phone work, and be more of a clerical help. Well, we get to the meeting to find that the Boss has had a change of heart. Apparently his Bosses think that we can't hire anyone else, and at the same time we just shouldn't be so "transactional" in our duties. Meanwhile our employees have been used to a great deal of HR hand-holding over the years, and aren't going to just stop contacting us about every little thing.

So, we aren't going to be getting any help in that area, though they did promise some changes that would make our jobs less "transactional". However, these changes take time and money. The Big Boss promised when he started here a couple of years ago to bring us "into the 21st century". Then he found out that the money it takes to do that is in very short supply, as my employer has never been good about funding our infrastructure.

As for me, I feel like I am increasingly out of step with my supervisor and my boss. It's hard to describe but I just feel like I am always answering wrong, or don't have something they want, etc. I do feel a lack of interest in most of what I do at work these days, and I know that is probably a lot of the difference in how I view what's going on. It's probably time for me to move on, but that thought brings up all my fears, of fitting in somewhere else, of being competent to do a different job. Plus I have invested a lot of time where I am. I get a good amount of vacation time... we get our hours as PTO or Paid Time Off hours and other than for the 6 standard holidays we get, I can use them however I want. With two small kids this is very important to me. Quitting altogether is out of the question right now financially; even with daycare for 2 factored out, we would struggle on one salary right now. We're working on getting the $$ situation to a better place, so maybe that would be an option in the future, but not right now. Same with going to a part time job. Plus, I'm paid well enough that if I were to go to another employer, I'd likely have to be a manager to maintain or improve on my salary. This doesn't interest me at ALL. I have no desire to supervise oother people, nor would I personally find managing to be challenging. Sometimes I think maybe I've reached my Peter Principle point.

So, my options are to examine my current position and find ways to improve my skills and attitude, or to watch for other opportunities at my employer. I think I'll do both.

My health has been fine; I'm just in summer limbo right now, since my next CT scan is not until the end of September. It's been nice to enjoy our summeras a family, though there is still a sword possibly dangling over our heads. In my heart I feel that the things they saw in June were just anomalies and that I will remain cancer free. However, my head tells me not to just assume that all is well forever. Maybe once I've had more good scans, my head will start to agree with my heart.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Baby Talk

The magazine that is. And yes, I'm still around. It's just that during the day I am supposed to be working, :-) and when I'm home I am rarely sitting down at the computer. When I am, it's just to catch up on email or whatnot.

Anyhow, if you hadn't already heard about this, the cover of the latest issue of Baby Talk magazine caused a stir recently, since it shows a baby nursing. Oh horrors, some mammary skin has been shown on the cover of a magazine! Why is it okay for all of the men's magazines (and I'm not talking about Playboy et al but rather Maxim, FHM, etc) to show very scantily clad women on their covers, and nobody says a word? In an article I read about the Baby Talk controversy, a woman they interviewed said something to the effect of "let's face it, a breast is a sexual thing". Um... I think you have this backwards, ma'am. Breasts were designed by nature to feed our babies. Somewhere along the way people decided to make them into objects of desire. Other criticisms I've read, both in articles and on mommy email lists I belong to, say "these women need to keep covered up and stop flaunting their breasts". Are there really that many breastfeeding women who are trying to flash us all??? I'm sure somewhere, some chick gets some kind of perverse pleasure out of doing just that, but as for the rest of us, uh, no! No nursing mom I know wants people looking at her breasts while she nurses. Generally nursing moms just want everyone else to treat what she is doing matter-of-factly, and don't really want attention drawn to the actual breastfeeding.

Some other critics say "there is a time and a place for nursing; it shouldn't be out in public." I say, why not? States keep passing laws saying that women can breastfeed anywhere that they can legally be. We're slowly beginning to get nursing moms and babies out of dirty public restrooms and cramped cars. Would you want to eat your meal in a public restroom??? I myself was never comfortable NIP (nursing in public) but that is just due to the size and shape of my breasts and body. I would have been one of those flasher mommies if I had! lol
Had I had an easier time with uncovering just what I wanted to uncover, I would have been happy to nurse any-and every-where I needed to. In my case, too, Becky was always really distracted by talking, tv or pretty much any ambient noise so it was easier to take her somewhere quiet to nurse. Funny, now when she watches TV we could drop a bomb next to her and she wouldn't flinch!

I will happily give Jim good-daddy kudos for a comment this morning. We had the local news on while we were all getting ready to get out the door. They had a news story about how breast feeding "can save you $1000 a year over formula feeding". Jim immediately quips, "let's not mention all the health benefits, let's just talk about saving money". I love my lactivist hubby!