Makeup

A friend recently discovered that when Sally Ride went into space in 1984, the NASA engineers asked her if 100 tampons would be sufficient for her two-week journey. My friend found this so ridiculous that she Snopes’d it to check.

I had heard about the tampons, but I had never heard about something else in the Snopes article: that the engineers also developed a makeup kit for her, since they figured women might…need makeup? Like how they need tampons? I find this even more incredible than the tampons bit. They seriously gave Sally Ride eyeliner for space.

Eyeliner.

I just. What the fuck. What do men think women even are.

This made me think about how a friend and I were talking about things after the Trump election and we both had been feeling very strongly that it was suddenly very important not to wear makeup. I was surprised when she brought this up, because I really felt it, but I didn’t expect it to be a relatable sentiment. I had felt this vaguely in the past — that at my level of status, it was important that I make a real point of going bare-faced especially in professional settings since I will not actually be penalized economically for it unlike other women who cannot make that choice, and so those of us who can push back about these expectations need to do it — but after that election, it felt newly pressing. I haven’t worn makeup since, really, I don’t think (except some concealer when necessary). I don’t ever plan to again, although who knows.

Increasingly as I get older, I feel more and more like I’m compromising my personal values when I adhere to beauty standards. Or more to the point, I feel actively submissive when I do, which is not how I want to see myself. There are some I still can’t seem to buck, like I’ve stopped shaving my pits, but I really don’t feel comfortable going out with hairy legs. But I’m working on it.

Maron, Season 4

I don’t have anything to say today, so I looked back through my old text files and found this thing I wrote after watching season 4 of Maron.

I had entirely forgotten that I watched this show at all until I read this, and I wrote this in July of 2017, so it was before I started my journey of having a baby on my own, but I was already planning to (I’d been planning to since I turned 30). I still haven’t seen anyone else mention what a horrific nightmare it was; probably because nobody watched it, but also probably because our society is so misogynistic.

Anyway, here’s an outdated rant about a show only ten people have seen. I consider it a cautionary tale against using a known donor. Happy Monday!

I enjoy Mark Maron, even though no one would ever accuse him of being especially enlightened. WTF got me through the terrible three months I spent in Austin temping at UT in dull data-entry jobs, and for that, I will always have a great affection for Maron and his weird garbly lispy voice. Marc himself is pretty sexist, but it doesn’t often come up on the podcast unless he has a guest who brings it out in him, in which case, he will participate with the gleeful delight of a child hanging out with a family friend who lets him swear. In seasons 1-3 of the show, however, it’s harder to ignore. There’s not outright, ugly misogyny, but more a view of women that just reads as very sadly dated. It’s like watching a sitcom from the late 80s or early 90s. And Maron does present himself as a throwback who likes vinyl and face-to-face interaction but is reasonably progressive otherwise, but I don’t think he’s really aware he’s dated in a more profound way, which can be a bit depressing to catch glimpses of, although it’s a bit helped by Maron’s self-absorption and limitations with other people being a self-conscious part of his comedic persona. 

But then we come to Season Four. 

Season Four begins with Marc having fallen off the wagon. He is living in a storage locker having lost everything, and hooked on oxy. His friends put him into rehab and put him up and in general spend the first half of the season shoving him back onto his feet. Then, Marc decides to skip town in his father’s RV for a new start. 

So far, so harmlessly clichéd. But the problem begins with Marc’s intended destination. In Season Three, he agreed to be a sperm donor to the lesbian couple next door. Because it’s a sitcom, things went sideways, but the couple had their paperwork in order. Marc was never more to them than the witty educated neighbor with decent genes. He doesn’t know the last name of the biological mother, and they have not kept in touch even casually. 

But he knows the small town she moved to, and he obtains her address from her disgruntled ex. He heads up to this town and decides to insert himself into his “son’s” life. Multiple people (including an imaginary version of himself) tell Marc that this is a terrible idea, that he is not this child’s father, that he has no claim on these people and that he will frighten and disturb them by showing up. But Marc just really WANTS to do this anyway: he finds himself in his 50s, alone, adrift, unsuccessful, and with no meaningful lasting relationships having never done any work to foster and maintain any. 

But he feels entitled to have lasting familial contacts anyway now that he finally wants them, so he intends to steal them from someone else to who he once gave some of his sperm and absolutely nothing else. And the viewer is encouraged to sympathize with him in this. 

When Marc confronts his former neighbor, Shay, and her mother, it’s terrifying. He immediately goes about inserting himself into every area of their lives. They cannot escape him. He shows up at the park, he parks outside their house, and then he turns up at Shay’s work and starts a scene. She screams for help, and her boss, coming out to see what is happening, recognizes Maron as a celebrity and befriends him right in front of his terrified employee. Later when Marc continues to show up at work, she is fired for being impolite to him. 

This is where the problem really starts: because this shit is way, way too real, and Maron thinks it’s heightened. He thinks it’s funny. We’re meant to think it’s funny. But to women, it isn’t funny — I was watching a real life nightmare play out on screen. Shay’s boss takes Marc’s side, as do two old white men, military vets who reminisce fondly about the old days when authors were men because they shot their wives, and who convince Marc to be persistent and aggressive when he is about to throw in the towel and leave town — they tell him that this is “his child,” that no matter what the law or the child’s actual family says, Marc’s balls know the truth. 

And so Marc stays, Marc persists, Marc threatens and stalks, Marc gets Shay fired, and eventually she relents. She agrees to include him in her life. In the closing shot, she smiles at him, gooey-eyed, as he holds her child. I think Maron actually thinks this is touching. 

It gave me nightmares. 

Swimming Clock

Edith knows when swimming is, and she gets so excited that she starts to be a pain in the ass about an hour before it’s really time to leave. She doesn’t have a concept of “start time” yet; I suppose she thinks that swimming is whenever we go to swimming, so when I’m sitting around when it’s getting close to swimming time, I’m just being a perverse jerk who needs to be actively motivated.

Eventually, I just give in, and while I get dressed and get her dressed as slowly as possible and drive as slowly as possible, we still regularly get there thirty minutes early, and earlier every week. The teachers always look at us strangely when we come in so early, but I don’t know how to explain that once it gets Sunday afternoonish, Edith is handing me my swimming trunks and shoving and shouting me to the door.

Soon, we’ll start getting there the night before.

Couch

Today Edith was running couch laps while I read at one end (a few words in between her reaching me on each lap and throwing herself over the book dramatically) and I suddenly noticed things had been quiet for two seconds rather than one.

I glanced over at Edith and did an actual double-take. She’d finally gotten up the nerve to try to get to the window sill next to the other end of the couch (long an ambition) and now she was suspended above the floor, fingers clutching the sill, toes just retaining purchase on the sofa arm.

She hadn’t even hollered; she just had this face like “ok, this didn’t turn out the way I expected.”

Amoxicillin Update

Well, Edith decided that she wasn’t going to drink her milk anymore now that it had begun tasting gross, so we revisited the idea of me force-feeding her. After some trial-and-error, I hit upon the solution, which works well enough: wrap her in a towel, put her flat on her back and straddle her, with one hand hold her cheeks and push them so that she’s making a fish face with her lips, put the syringe in until it’s at the back of her throat and then slowly empty it while blowing steadily in her face.

With this method, I usually get a bit more than 3/4 of a dose down her, but we’ve lost about four full doses in the war, so I’ll have to get a refill from the pediatrician.

Amoxicillin

Edith had a cold that lasted longer than I thought it should so I took her to the pediatrician, and he said that while the cold just had to run its course, she coincidentally had the beginnings of ear infections in both ears that weren’t far enough along to be bothering her yet.

So I now have this bottle of amoxicillin and I’m supposed to give her 5 mL morning and night.

I have been provided no instruction on how on earth this is possible.

The liquid takes like super sweet bubble gum, so you’d think Edith would just suck it down, but she can tell I really want her to take it and she inherited my contrariness (a family trait) and so the second I approached her with it, she set her little jaw and glared at me. I gave her some and she decorated my dress with it.

I have sought advice from other parents and one thing that has come up is that if you put a baby on her back and put the syringe in past her tongue and then blow on her face as she takes it, it triggers a swallow reflex.

Well, either that’s nonsense or Edith is especially talented, because when I tried this she closed her throat up like a vice and then spewed the medicine right back into my actively blowing face, like a geyser in the wind.

So I’ve been putting it in her milk. This works, but I read online that they might not get the full dose if it’s in milk. I figured this is maybe because it gives it more of a surface to spread out and cling to, so more of it gets left behind, so I called the nurse to ask. And she said that they don’t really recommend that method because it isn’t that efficient and they instead recommend that you put it in food, like ice cream or sweet yogurt or coffee creamer.

The thing is, though, Edith DEFINITELY will not eat food that I especially want her to eat merely because she can tell I want her to eat it (see above re: contrary). I don’t see how coffee creamer differs from milk? So we’re just going on with the milk, since it seems to be the only way, and I hope she’s getting enough down her to keep the infection from setting in.

I thought force-feeding a biting rabbit her meds was the trickiest challenge along these lines that I would have to face, but this is harder.

Agatha

Edith has a little stuffed lamb named Agatha, probably her favorite stuffed toy or doll. They have a volatile relationship: sometimes Edith hugs Agatha to her cheek and rescues her from perilous situations; other times she dashes her head against the floor or screams in her face.

Lately, Edith has been flinging Agatha into her bed in the mornings. I thought maybe she’s gotten to the age where she wants to cuddle a stuffed toy at night, so last night, I put Agatha in with her.

She immediately flung Agatha at the wall with such disgust and rage! She had never been so angry at Agatha, who had clearly trespassed unforgivably.

To make sure, I tried slipping Agatha back in quietly at a couple of points throughout the night, only to get smacked in the face with her as she made a hasty exit. So ok, message taken. Agatha can sleep with me.

Bathroom Door

Over the past few days, Edith has been doing a weird new thing. Three times now I have heard her screaming in heartbroken rage (heartbroken rage is an emotional combo I did not have much awareness of prior to having a toddler but now I get to witness it several times every day) somewhere in the house, and when I find her, she is standing outside my closed bathroom door, beating on it and weeping, having convinced herself for some reason that I am in there ignoring her.

I don’t know why she is frequently leaping to this conclusion all of a sudden, especially since she usually has wandered off from where I actually am only minutes previously.

When I come around the corner and say, “hey! I’m right here!” she doesn’t look abashed or confused, but rather turns to me and seamlessly continues to cry angrily at me, as if I am still somehow responsible for her mistake. Which just further supports my theory that we all start out naturally as men and only become women through aggressive social conditioning.

Food

When my mother first went back to Tennessee, I dreaded figuring out dinners for Edith. At first, though, this went ok! She would eat protein pasta, so that was one or two nights set. She loves beans and rice and eats it every day already, so that would do for dinner in a pinch. She’d eat any sort of fruit. She would sometimes eat roasted veggies, so I could do a big tray of those once or twice. Overall, I had enough options to get us through a week without spending an age on it.

But then, one by one, Edith decided she wasn’t eating any of this anymore, and now she will only eat beans and rice, and sometimes only rice. She still eats fruit with her nanny during the day, so there’s that, but she usually won’t eat it if I give it to her. I can’t feed her beans and rice for lunch and dinner every single day, can I? I mean, I can, and I have been, but it concerns me.

It’s weird that human beings are primarily supposed to eat vegetables, and we all hate them from the minute we’re born. No matter what form or type of vegetable I give Edith, she tosses it immediately onto the floor as if I’ve given her something that is clearly inedible. You’d think we’d be drawn to the foods that are most nutritious for us, that we’d crave them and favor them. Instead, we spend our whole lives trying to force them down our throats (not YOU, I know, you LOVE vegetables, you don’t need to comment and tell me that). I don’t mind them myself, but they rarely seem like a solution to hunger; I have to eat before I get too ravenous if I’m going to include vegetables and eat like a sane person, and not just cram a bunch of bread and dairy down my gob.

Anyway, watching Edith’s outright rejection of them often makes me ponder how strange it is that a taste for vegetables usually needs to be acquired when they are so necessary for us.

Downtown Kyle

I took Edith to the playground downtown this morning again. She was tired and clingy so she didn’t really run around that much, but I enjoyed it. The park is shady and pretty, and there are always other toddlers and parents there, and it’s nice to chat with the moms. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger and maintain it when you both have toddlers. Taking Edith there is exactly like taking a dog to a dog park, socially.

I took this little video of the town square; it’s got a real Stars Hollow thing going on with the gazebo and the giant pie.