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Our House

In the last paragraph of her new Atlantic piece Sandra Tsing Loh writes:

Work … family-I’m doing it all. But here’s the secret I share with so many other nanny- and housekeeper-less mothers I see working the same balance: my house is trashed. It is strewn with socks and tutus. My minivan is awash in paper wrappers (I can’t lie-several are evidence of our visits to McDonald’s Playland, otherwise known as “my second office”). My girls went to school today in the T-shirts they slept in. But so what? My children and I spend 70 hours a week of high-to-poor quality time together.

And I thought to myself, I don’t remember having invited her over to our house!

The only one not affected by the move is the boy, who blissfully sleeps through the chaos.

The girl, as the house becomes smaller and smaller and as there are more and more things that she cannot touch or play with, has begun get more and more surly. It also has to do with not having enough outside time. And, though she talks excitedly about moving to Kentucky and the new house, where she will have a pink room, and go to a new pre-school, she has also told expressed sadness over moving. (She overheard us describing the various rooms to her grandparents. Currently, the girl’s is pink and when she heard that there was a pink room, she said: My room is the pink room.)

Out of the blue as she was sitting on the couch and I was preparing supper, she said:

Yeah, it’s tough to leave friends; isn’t it, dad?

I don’t know if it is that our dog is now officially a grand dame, with a white muzzle and white paws, 11 1/2 is quite old, even if she could live 16, or so with proper care, of if it is that the house is utter chaos, but she has begun to not eat all of the food we put out for her in the morning. It used to be 5 minutes after food was out it was gone. Now, she snacks on it throughout the day. This change of eating habits does not, of course, mean that she has stopped trying to steal food from the girl.

I have begun going to bed later and later as I try to get the house packed, while the breadwinner of the family has begun to go to bed earlier and earlier. Last night I went to bed at 3; she at 8:30.

 

Comments

You guys are so gender-normative.

that should’ve read, the color of the girl’s room in the house we are going to buy is pink. the color of our girl’s room here is yellow.

but, pink, much to her mother’s chagrin, is e’s favorite color.

our girls’ room is in transition to pink. at least it is pink and beige, not full throttle pink. but actually, since rose has socialized me so in the last year or two, i have started liking pink enough myself to dye part of my hair that color. on the other end of the spectrum (sorry), a good friend mentioned this morning that she hasn’t shaved in twenty years, but might start if her son starts being embarrassed that she is “weird.”
this post-feminism life is pretty interesting.

I was part of a discussion the other day in which a number of women said they’d started shaving again after 20 years or so. I’m not sure if it was kid-related or not.

I’ve always liked pink in moderation, although I loathed purple as a kid.

My grandfather, a farm boy from Texas who after being a mechanic in the army air corps was a mechanic for the city and then a mechanic in the Texas oil fields, used to shave his underarms.

I, since being home with the kids, haven’t shaved, but that is more laziness on my part than anything else.

In certain socio-economic groups in the Dominican Republic, pink is certainly a male color.

What I dislike more than pink is the princess, and though we never buy her anything princess grandmothers do and so do friends. We could certainly get fascist and take it away, but that sort of behavior always seems a little boorish to me.

Not boorish—principled!

a tiara or two have slipped under the radar here, but it’s Disney and Barbie, more than generic princess, that gets my goat. except for a Cinderella sleeping bag from the custodian of chris’s building that is now used in under-bed storage, we have managed to keep it all out (sometimes sneaking it into the post-holiday trash under cover of night).

Re:6 case in point!

I fully understand that grandparents and friends have pushed princess stuff upon her… but pink I don’t know what to think about.

Her mother’s mother pushed pink on her and her mother resisted it and still does not like pink. We have never pushed it on her and, in fact, hoped that she wouldn’t like pink… but from before she could speak, despite keeping it out of her wardrobe as much as possible, pink was her favorite color.

I am inclined to not think it a gendered like, though I know that everyone around her, except her parents, insist on the girl/pink connection.

Re: the Barbies, everyone knows we don’t do Barbie and so far as respected.

Re: princesses everyone knows that we don’t do princesses, but no one has respected that. My sense there is that intransigence will only lead to problems later on. This, hopefully, is just a phase that she will grow out of, once she discovers such things as science or horseback riding or Marvel comics.

Speaking of comics, a while back John Holbo recommended good kids’ comics. Owly is pretty dang cute, if you ask me—and his kids like it.

i think pink is just a happy color. i feel especially sorry for boys whose parents don’t let them enjoy it b/c of their own issues (i.e. my nephew).
the extra-nice thing about pink is that it coordinates well with hello kitty.
i will stop being the pink goodwill ambassador now, as i don’t seem to be winning any hearts and minds.

no, no, i have a pink shirt… and hello kitty rocks!

or, so, especially thinks e.

I never liked pink as a little (or big) girl, but have grown to like it—and wear it—as an adult. I also gave up my hairy legs early in my grad school career, though, and recently purchased a pink cell phone (so Greg could get the dark one—go figure).

You don’t hear much about “lipstick feminists” anymore, do you? (I don’t keep up with anything more intellectually-taxing than Hermits anymore, I’m afraid. And I can barely handle that sometimes.) Appearance doesn’t seem to be an important signifier these days…

Anyway, I’m glad my parents didn’t push pink on us as children, but then again, the 70s were a very “boyish” time for young kids, as I recall…At least at our house.

Guess it was actually “lipstick lesbians.” The brain atrophies with neglect.