Friday, June 27, 2014

A little less

Every now and then someone on one of my social media feeds decides to take a break from it all. I have one Facebook acquaintance who is taking 6 months off of personal social media. I'm not inclined to taking a full out break but I am occasionally tempted. What I think I might do though is do less. Sadly the goal I'm having the hardest time with is being on my electronics less. I know what I'm teaching my kids by example but I always think well let me check X really quick and then I stay looking at links to articles and blog posts instead of just putting the phone, tablet, whatever done almost right away. In other words, it's never really quick. So I'm turning notifications off. I'm limiting myself how much I get to check. Maybe 3 times a day to start, I'm not sure. Basically I'm thinking that no electronics from when I get home till they are in bed (this does not count my Nook for reading). When I'm with my family, I want to be with my family. Maybe a slackening in my own usage will help change some of the habits that my son has picked up. All in all, a little less plug-in can't be a bad thing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Baby Doll (1956)

Yesterday the big news in entertainment was the death of Eli Wallach. As much as I enjoy old movies, I didn't know the name off hand so I went looking and that lead me to his first movie, Baby Doll. Eli Wallach is known for The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly among other things and was never considered a heartthrob, possibly because he was primarily a character actor.

Based on a Tennesse Williams' play, Baby Doll is about a 19 year old girl who was married off to an older husband because her dying father wanted her taken care of. A deal was struck with the husband that the marriage will not be consummated till Baby Doll's 20th birthday which is just a few days away. Baby Doll actually sleeps in a crib (much like a current toddler bed) and behaves rather childishly. I personally interpret all of this as mechanisms to keep her husband, Archie Lee, away as she finds him unattractive and old and seems to look for reasons to break the deal. Her husband, frustrated with his wife and his failing business, burns down a neighboring cotton gin. The owner vows revenge and visits the next day obstinately to have Archie Lee gin his cotton but really to find proof that he committed the arson. After meeting Baby Doll, he begins a seduction of her in effort to get her to admit Archie Lee's guilt.

Baby Doll is a movie known for being denounced and banned for its sexual themes. I read a few things yesterday that dealt with the theme of adultery but mostly it was the idea of feminine sexuality that upsets its critics. That a girl might want to have sex for her own pleasure was a radical idea at the time. But there is no actual sex shown in the movie rather it is implied and the scene that so upset people, albeit slightly creepy and outdated by today's standards, actually had little to do with sex. But there is something about the way Wallach's character, Vacarro, speaks to Baby Doll and the way he carcasses her that is sexy as hell. The touching and the whispering and the way the camera closes in on them makes it one of the most intimate moments I've seen. And this is, I believe, where Baby Doll begins to experience a sexual awakening. Her experience thus far as been boys and men trying to force themselves on her and now there is a man telling her she is delicate and soft and caressing her. The scene alone comes off creepy but somehow arousing on its own. Viewed in context of the whole movie, it really brings together that this is the moment that Baby Doll first experiences the idea of sex for pleasure.

I've seen it mentioned in several comments that Baby Doll is just a pawn for these two men and that is despicable. And yes it is but the thing is even once she knows that Vacarro is just using her to find out Archie Lee's guilt, she still asks him to stay and take a "nap." Now the nap can be taken as an actual nap or it can be seen as a "nap." It's claimed by Vacarro himself to just be a nap but certainly something has changed in Baby Doll. She exhibits a more grown up style afterwards and, in fact, dresses to mimic Vacarro's dark clothing. She also somehow becomes a bit more sensible though still prone to immaturity.

 The crib itself can be taken as a symbol of her growth. In the beginning she is clinging to her virginity more out of disgust for her husband and as a weapon to get what she wants. She uses the nursery as a means to that end. But suddenly, with Vaccaro, she is offering it to him as a place to lay down and she cares for him in a tender fashion. Afterwards, he seems more caring of her than before. Before he was ruthless in his seduction and treating her like a child in order to gain proof of Archie Lee's crime. After he tries to save her from her increasingly unhinged husband as well as maintain some semblance of normalcy in face of an angry man. The characters are all once sympathetic and gross as most people are, but Archie Lee seems to be the foulest of them all. And while Baby Doll is saved from consummating the marriage she is ultimately also left alone by the two men who wanted to use her for their own separate gains.
(Interestingly the ending of the movie came out of the idea that an adulteress must be punished in some fashion as was dictated by the Motion Picture Production Code of the time. Since a case could be made that Baby Doll did not commit adultery, she was allowed to survive as it were but not with a completely happy ending. The play ends more happily for the lovers than the movie.)

* Though I've included key scenes it really is a movie worth watching but be warned that racism is pretty prevalent throughout the film.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I've decided to quit qualifying what I say. It's sort of instinctual, something girls are taught mostly. As a reference librarian, I find most of the time when I hear "can I ask a stupid question" it's from a girl. The other morning I read something on a blog about confidence and girls and then I was commenting on a Facebook post about motherhood and I realized that I wanted to qualify my statements with "of course I love my kids." That's when I realized I don't want to do that anymore. I was chosen by the associate dean as a representative of my rank to help with a project. My first instinct was to think that she had made a mistake and then to say "well I don't know why she chose me." But the truth is I know why she chose me. Out of the all the instructors I tend to be less emotional, more rationale, and pretty level-headed. So I can definitely see why I was chosen. All of these things together made me realize how much I qualify my statements or opinions.

"Of course I love my kids," "maybe it's just me," "I have a maybe dumb question"

Anyone who knows me knows I love my kids and I shouldn't feel like I have to end any statement, even one in which I am complaining about them, with how much I love them. I see that on blogs all the time. Moms complain or talk about how hard mothering can be, and it is, but then always end the post with something sappy about how much they love them (I'm guilty of this as well). I rarely see daddy blogs do this. Kids are hard work and it's not a bad thing to feel overwhelmed with them. We get overwhelmed with paid work and most people will complain about it from time to time. And last I checked more money went out of my wallet than in because I have children.

It's funny because after I made this decision I was writing up a presentation proposal with a co-worker and she asked my opinion on something. I started to say "No offense but" then I stopped myself. I explained to her how I am not qualifying my statements anymore and then said "So I guess what I mean is I don't care if I offend you?" She laughed but said it was a good goal. The thing is if I want my kids to model good and confident behavior I need to start exhibiting it. And this is just one way I want them to see that their opinions matter, no qualifications necessary.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Potty Training {Part it doesn't matter}

I took the Friday before Memorial Day as planned in order to start laying a foundation and to get this kid out of diapers once and for all. I forgot that she is so very much like me and that nothing will persuade her to do what she doesn't want to do. Normally I'm not about making my kids grow up faster than they want but I know she's ready or so I thought. She's almost ready, like on the edge but she's not willing to tip over the edge and so we reached an impasse the second day in. Optimally potty training happens after age 2. I know this. And I know from experience that training (a boy at least) after 3 is even hardener. I also know she's barely 2. But still I try. I tried. The first day she thought it was fun but never gave an indication of needing to go and never actually went in the potty.  She enjoyed the rewards though and tried all day for me to just give them to her rather than earning them. But by the 2nd day she was over it. She was tired of me making her sit on the toilet and she just did not want to. While I hate to use the word "quit" frankly I quit at the end of the second day. We weren't getting anywhere and she was tired of me and vice versa. I'm honestly not trying to push this on her but it's just she seems so ready and I'm so afraid to lose my window. Lately she wants to sit on the potty before her bath and sometimes she will try to change herself but she will not tell me before she goes.  It's so weird. I'm getting mixed signals. So now I'm wondering if I should take the last weekend of June and try again. I guess I'll try to suss out the situation over the next couple of weeks and see where we stand.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Game on

Sometime this baseball season it dawned on me that we are a sports family. I know that should have occurred to me at some point before but I think it was the immediate switch from soccer to baseball that did it. See, I'm not a sports person per se. I've only recently gotten into watching football and I was never interested/good at sports as a child so they were never really my thing. BT, on the other hand, has played his whole life and was a great track runner in high school. So when Bub turned 3 and I noticed a sign that said a local club started soccer at 3 years old I texted BT and asked if I should sign him up. Hell, yeah was the answer I received. So Bub has been playing soccer in the fall since he was 3. Then t-ball started at the age of 4. He missed playing when he was 5 since it started right after I had Button and I couldn't handle a newborn and baseball at the same time (weak, I know). So it's been 3 years of baseball and 6 seasons of soccer. He seems to enjoy playing and we all like going and watching. It can be a lot of shuttling around with practices and such but I know that it will get to be more and more as he gets older.

Eventually, I'm sure, Button will want to do as her older brother does and she will start soccer too. I'm thinking I will sign her up for the 3 year old soccer even though Bub doesn't play with that club anymore. His current one starts at age 5 but the 3 year old soccer is the cutest thing ever so I want to see her do that. If she wants to play ball too when she is old enough than I will sign her up for that too. But part of me hopes she takes after me and wants to do dance as I did for so long. I would love that so much. Whatever she wants to do, we will make it happen. I think it's important for kids to do at least one other thing outside of school and I think team sports are great. And I may not understand everything that happens out on the field but I sure enjoying watching the kids get out there and play!