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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary


J'aime pas les parkings...

I’m back from San Francisco and I’m sick.

This is what I get for being a nice friend and making time for the People With Babies.

I only saw2 of the 3 little kids, but that was enough to infect me with some sort of flu: chills, achy bones, slight fever and general tiredness. Those tiny creatures are incubators for germs and microbes, and what is it with newfangled parents who don’t wipe their babies’ noses? When I used to watch my nephew, I always had kleenex at the ready, but these folks don’t seem to mind a bit.

I am not babyphobic, just to be clear. My sister had a baby when I was 20, so I babysat and took care of my nephew from when he was an eensy weensy little grub til he was 7 or 8. I actually think they’re cute, I pick them up when they ask me to, and play with them if they want. I’m not one of those women who immediately makes a beeline for the kid, and loses all sense of propriety and language.

The two babies were very cute, but their parents made me a little sad. It was as if their lives had kind of stalled. Both couples expressed some regret at having bought and spent tons of money on a house, expressed fear for their financial situations, and one parent talked about the not-so-great school system they’d moved into. “If we stay on top of her education, our daughter will probably be ok in the public school here, at least for the first couple of years.” This is the same parent who talked excitedly about placing the order for his new car.

I was bummed for many reasons, but mainly:

1. “our daughter will probably be ok in the public school here”? People! You do not gamble on your kids’ education if you can help it. My parents were both poor teachers and they scrimped and saved to send all three of their daughters to private schools because the public ones sucked. I can remember lots of poverty dinners of white rice and fried eggs because that’s all we could afford, and now I speak and write French fluently. Take the $20,000 you’d spend on a car, and stick it in an educational savings account for your kid, fcs (for chrissakes.)

2. Good test scores in school districts does not necessarily translate to a good education. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize that.

3. The new parents bought into the whole suburban American dream orderly milestones of Marriage, House Purchase, then Baby. What ever happened to subverting the dominant paradigm? Or thinking about your financial situation post-baby during the pre-baby phase? Or questioning the old way of doing things in this new century?

I understand that I am a weirdo in these areas. I really question absolutely everything, including whether or not you really need a top sheet when you make the bed, whether or not you really do need to rinse out conditioner then apply a leave-in afterwards, whether or not you have to wait for someone else to give you nice jewelry.

The good news is that both of those households were spotless, with the kid messes contained in certain areas of the house. And the parents, in spite of the things that made me a little nuts, are really cool: creative, loving, funny, and they don’t babytalk. The kids will undoubtedly be fine.

The weekend was scheduled to the minute, and the most fun I had was hanging out at Douglas’ house, eating, talking and watching the World Series. He gave me a lovely wall clock and a vintage French coffee grinder for helping him with his architecture book. Apparently, the publisher loved the design and cover, and I will be given a design credit on the jacket flap, and perhaps on the copyright page. Yay!

And now I have to get out of my pjs and get dressed because I am going to a free screening of “The Truth About Charlie.” I don’t think the movie will be any good, but the action takes place in Paris, so I will torture myself with the gorgeous scenery.

6:01 p.m. - 2002-10-22



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