Ponderings on perfection

One of DC1’s classmates is a doctor married to another doctor.  (Her youngest is best friends with my oldest– they skipped first grade together.)  Dr. Bestfriendsmom is also gifted with organizational and artistic abilities.  Her kids seem similarly endowed and often win the school-wide art contests.

Dr. Bestfriendsmom also throws amazing parties.  She knows interesting people, both with kids and without, even though they’ve only been living here a couple of years.  She and her husband are both total extroverts.  Their parties are honestly the only ones we’ve really enjoyed (including the ones we throw) since our odd assortment of non-work friends graduated, getting their PhDs, and moved to other states.

The children’s parties that Dr. Bestfriendsmom throws are generally themed.  She does the decorations.  (She makes pinatas in her hotel room on conference trips.)  She does the baking.  (The baking can include 30+ gingerbread houses made from scratch.)  She’s totally amazing.  A non-anal Martha Stewart.

At the last party, other mothers tried to engage me and did engage each other with catty comments about Dr. Bestfriendsmom and her over-the-top baking.  I responded with earnest, “It’s totally amazing,” and “DC1 is loving this” kinds of comments.  Mentally narrowing the eyes in my mind while doing so (the eyes on my face got wider and more innocent looking).

I don’t get the vitriol.  The jealousy.  Why are people so hostile when presented with someone who is awesome?  Why do they feel like they have to tear someone down who is just trying to do things well?

I don’t particularly want to be her… crafts are not my thing even if I had artistic ability.  (Also:  it is my understanding that MDs have to deal with blood.  Urp!)  So much extroversion would tire me out.  But I appreciate that there’s someone in our life who puts in that kind of effort to throw a big party and to make sure her guests are having a great time.

It could be that I don’t feel jealous precisely because I don’t particularly want to be a crafty person who throws awesome parties (though I appreciate being invited to them!).  But I also look up to the awesome women in my field who are at better schools and more published than I am, even though I do want to be them!  I strive for their accomplishments and I appreciate the way they’re opening doors for all women.  (Come to think of it, the ex-friend whose therapist told her to stop talking to me often took instant dislikes to some of these shooting stars, and also accused me of being jealous of her own success.)

Maybe it’s a fixed mind-set vs. growth mind-set thing.  I assume that with enough concentrated effort I could do things, or at least do more things, so there’s no need to tear anybody down to my level.  But really I have no idea.

Sylvia:  The woman who does everything so much better than you do.
Also Historiann’s recent series on Hillary Clinton.  (Another awesome woman.)

Why do you think some people hate perfection?  Do you?

Food and DC2

Long-term readers of the blog may have come to the realization that #1 and her partner are kind of hippy-dippy parents.  Or lazy parents as they think of themselves.  They tend to let nature take its course, even when that causes them to deviate from the more stress-inducing mainstream.   Things other parents tend to complain about, #1 and spouse do a little research on and then usually realize they can avoid the thing causing the stress.

One of the potentially stress-inducing baby situations to rear its messy head is that of introduction to solid food.  Some parents force it on their kids and get very frustrated when it doesn’t go down.  Some parents freak out about perfectly made fresh organic purees, lovingly frozen in ice cubes.  Obviously perfectly made fresh organic purees are great, but if they freak one out…they can be skipped.

So in our lazy parenting strategy, we wait for the “signs of readiness”.  These are things like the baby being interested in food, the baby grabbing your food from you, the baby swallowing the food rather than pushing it out with hir tongue, and so on.  DC1 did not get these signs until ze was around 8 or 9 months old and rather dramatically stole a banana from me.  Because DC was so old and was pincer grasping, we figured we could just skip the puree stage entirely, so we did.  Research on “baby-led weaning” backed us up on it.  (Weaning being the British terminology for introducing foods.)

DC2 has shown the signs of readiness much earlier.  The day after hir 4 month appointment, in fact, it became pretty well impossible to keep food from hir at the dinner table.  So we didn’t try to keep it away.

DC2 gets table food, just like DC1 did.  We give hir little non-chokable bites.  Ze eats things that are naturally mushy with a spoon (split pea soup for lunch today).  We have been keeping wheat away because we’re still a bit worried about allergens.  And DC2 did have a small allergic reaction to *something* in San Diego, but we have no idea what, possibly naan (this, of course, being the reason the pedi says to introduce only one food at a time in 3 day intervals… something hard to do with a grabby baby on vacation).

Other forms of baby-led weaning suggest mesh baggies or just giving entire chicken legs or soft carrot sticks… but we’re still too lazy for that.  Ze gets what we’re eating.

And it seems to be going just fine, though we could have lived longer without the stinkier diapers.  Still, if you limit to whole foods, the diapers still aren’t as stinky as they could be.  (We remember the results of DC1’s first foray into processed food… the experience out the other end cut processed food out of all of our lives.)  We also understand bibs in a way that we missed with DC1.

Now, does that mean that more traditional methods of introducing solids are wrong?  Probably not.  We’re just lazy and take the least stressful way out.  It seems to work so far.

So if you don’t want to bother with purees, we at grumpy rumblings give you permission not to.

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What’s your gazingus pin?

I could have sworn I already did a post on this.  But I was trying to type up a tiny rant and wanted to link to it and I could not find it!  (Right now I’m thinking it was a post on a forum and not on the blog.)  And the tiny rant won’t make as much sense if you don’t know what a gazingus pin is.  So this post is so a future post makes more sense.  :)  Also, it’s an awesome idea by itself, thanks go to the book Your Money or Your Life for initially posing it.

A gazingus pin is something that you just buy.  You may not have it in that color.  You may not have quite that flavor.  You tend to have a lot of them, far more than you really need, and sometimes you may even have more than you can use.  Common examples are flavored lip balm, or shoes, or yarn.  Alternatively they could be the latest electronic thing, or power tools, and so on.  They’re tiny pleasures, but if overdone, the pleasure can be diluted because it has become a habit more than a treat.  And sometimes they’re not so tiny pleasures because the gazingus pin in question is expensive or the sheer quantity of pins adds up disproportionate to a person’s budget.  When either one of those scenarios happen, it’s a good idea to think mindfully about the spending habit and maybe even cut back on it.

At grumpy rumblings, it’s pretty obvious that both of us have the same gazingus pin:  books.  And this isn’t a habit that we’re willing to give up.  However, it’s a habit we can afford.  We don’t let it interfere with maximizing our individual utilities subject to our budget constraints.  We also put book-wants on our Amazon lists rather than just buying them.  Using the Amazon list in this way, btw, is a form of delaying gratification to get only what you really want— a month or so before Christmas or her birthday, #1 will cut out the books she didn’t really want, thus limiting the total number of book purchases.  Eventually all those books will get read and/or reread.

What’s your gazingus pin?  Are you buying the right amount of it?

link love

Clio Blue-stocking tales with a poignant self-examination (and we wish she’d always had her wonderful partner).

Budget Blonde talks about how to get money side hustling— hint:  there’s a lot of rejection involved.

Academic cog had some great posts this week.  This first one on rethinking writing was serious and asks if you’d still write if you didn’t have to for your job, but this one on keeping warm cracked us up.

Evolving PF asks if there are frugal practices you’ve learned to love over time so that they don’t seem like sacrifices.

Afford anything turns the “passion” idea on its head, noting that you can’t have a passion about something you’ve never experienced.  I’m not sure it’s true for everyone, but I definitely have started to like things after starting to study them.

Feralhomemaking on realistic positive thinking.  (And God bless the pessimists, for they have provided the back-up systems.)

What now gets inside my head about how I think I’d be a crappy administrator and yet I tend to step in when one is needed, except it’s her and not me.

Cnn says that stress really does cause pre-mature greying.

CNN also celebrates Free to Be You and Me.  If you have kids, they need this album!

The frugal girl has a simple heuristic about how much stuff you should own.  I note that since I have enough space for the fondue pot and I’m really happy the once or twice a year we use it (as a hot pot), I think it can stay.

The punchline on this somthingpositive cracked me up (not the part about bad phone sex).

Get ready for objectify a male tech writer day.

Fox stole Jonathan Coulton’s cover of Baby got Back and is selling it.  Fox sucks.

Ask the grumpies: Tightwad vs. frugal

First Gen American asks:

I believe that the difference between being frugal and a tightwad miser is knowing when to throw money at a problem. What is that tipping point for you? Define, elaborate, ponder.

This is a really popular personal finance topic, especially with frugality bloggers.

For us, frugality has to do with efficiency and value.  As a frugal person, you may buy a more expensive model of a needed item, but that item will last longer and give more pleasure while you use it than a cheaper model would.  Frugal people do not have false economies.  They are happier with less stuff, but they buy what they need and some of what they want.  They don’t waste money on things they don’t really want, and they make sure they’re able to afford what they do buy.  Frugal people are mindful of their purchases and their true desires.

Misers practice false economy– they save pennies and lose dollars.  They lose horses for want of a nail.  They fail to make purchases that would increase their overall happiness and even those that would increase their overall income or wealth.  (Not knowing when to throw money at a problem.)

Tightwads and cheapskates neglect their personal and social capital.  They go against social norms in ways that can hurt other people.  They may practice petty theft (see: ketchup packets), under-tipping, and so on.

Grumpy readers, how do you differentiate between the different types of low-spenders?

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 3 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

In 2012, there were 280 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 873 posts. There were 19 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 3rd with 1,157 views. The most popular post that day was It’s not really your money if you’re in debt.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012.

Some of your most popular posts were written before 2012. Your writing has staying power! Consider writing about those topics again.

The top referring sites in 2012 were:

  1. Google Reader
  2. bardiac.blogspot.com
  3. getrichslowly.org
  4. scientopia.org
  5. reassignedtime.wordpress.com

Most visitors came from The United States. The United Kingdom & Canada were not far behind.

Your most commented on post in 2012 was Musings on why weight targets bother me

These were your 5 most active commenters:

What were your favorite grumpy rumblings posts this past year?

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 19 Comments »

You don’t have to sleep train

No seriously, if it’s making you miserable, this isn’t something you need to do.  Grumpy rumblings gives you permission to not do it.  You’re not spoiling your kid.  You’re not destroying your child’s chances of ever being able to sleep at night or whatever dire consequence you think is going to happen.

There is nothing wrong with nursing to sleep.  No, the baby won’t be needing the breast to get to sleep at age 5.  There’s a reason breastmilk has sleepy juice and anti-cavity stuff in it.  Even if you wanted to breast feed forever, the kid will eventually wean on his or her own.  You’re not fostering bad habits that will have to be broken later.  And, the baby can fall asleep a different way for a different care provider even while nursing to sleep with you.  Rocking is fine too unless you dislike doing it.  Again, five year olds don’t need to be rocked to sleep.

Yes, some parents are absolutely desperate for sleep, and if their kid is older than 6 months, it probably won’t do any harm to try sleep training (making sure they’re using a real method of CIO like Ferber’s, and not some crack-pot thing they found on the internet that could get the child protective services called in on them).  [Note:  ending co-sleeping with an older child.]

It is OK if your kid doesn’t take naps.  Honest.  You don’t need a rigid schedule.  If your kid is cranky from lack of sleep then, sure, encourage naps and sleeping in, but if your kid is perfectly happy… that is OK.  You’re not a bad parent.  Really!

Cosleep if that works for you.  Don’t cosleep if it doesn’t.  Stick to a schedule if that’s what’s easiest, but don’t bother if it is making you miserable.  There is no “You have to do this,” in parenting once you get past the basics of food, shelter, clothing, interaction, and love.

Also, while we’re at it– you don’t need to force pureed organic baby foods down your kid’s throat if the kid isn’t ready for them.  If they just come right back out, you have our permission to take a break from trying.  And no, solids will not help your baby Sleep Through The Night, even if your pediatrician says they will– pubmed disagrees.  And it’s ok if your baby doesn’t sleep through the night!  Sleeping through the night is unnatural and an invention that we’ve only had since electric lighting.

Honest to goodness… kids have been doing this sleeping thing (not to mention the eating thing) for aeons.  The idea that somehow we have to train them to do it (or dire consequences) rather than it being hard-coded seems pretty ridiculous.  In fact, with so much of this parenting, it seems like you get exactly the results you don’t want if you try to force something rather than letting it take its course.  (Disclaimer:  some kids do have disorders like reflux and other things that interfere with sleep… those should be checked out by your pediatrician–get to the root of the problem.)

This tiny rant brought to you by #1’s kid being old enough that she’s hearing folks’ stress again.  And having some seriously scary interviews with potential mothers helpers.  Aieeeee!

Delaying gratification

Delaying gratification basically means:  Tell yourself you can have some later.

Say you have a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.  How do you keep yourself from eating junk food at work or from eating more calories than you really need?

Studies discussed in Willpower by Baumeister show that the most successful method of, for example, not eating MnMs is to tell yourself that you can have some later.

People who said they could not have any wore down their willpower and eventually gave in.  People who said sure, they could have some, but not now, didn’t wear down their willpower and in the end, often didn’t have the candy later either.

Dave Ramsey talks about this:  Live like no-one else so that you can live like no-one else.  But by the time you’re financially free, you may not want all the stuff you craved when you were in debt.   However, telling yourself you could have it later helps with the gazelle intense part.

I find I do this a lot with ice cream.  I tell myself I can have some later that night only to forget about it until after I’ve brushed my teeth.  (Eventually the ice cream does get eaten, but when I’m actually hungry!)

Do you ever use this delaying gratification trick?  Does it work?

link love

Much more interesting than my 1st lecture this semester (a review of ttests and normal curves), from delagar.

NW edible tells us how to pick vegetable seeds (from a catalogue).

Where’s my trust fund has a nifty manifesto.

I want to be a wizard!  yes, I do!

We were in this week’s carnival of personal finance.

Dr. Jen Gunter discusses whether or not it’s healthier to be a few pounds overweight.  An excellent discussion of selection bias and other research problems ignored by the media.

If you wondered about the life and death of the sun

Oil and garlic asks, who plans and takes the mental load of those anchor events on those weekends you’re not wasting at home.

Money magazine talks about the top 529 plans.  We have Utah.

Google questions and answers

Q:  will i be better than my parenta

A:  How could we not?  Grammar (or spelling) makes the world go round.

Q:  what are the qualities of life for a super skinny person?

A:  very low BMI

Q:  why called pieces of eight

A:  Because they used to be cut into eighths.

Q:  what do i need to know to be a helper in a school

A:  It depends on the school.  Some will make you do a background check.  Contact your school or check out their webpage to see.

Q:  why parents should pay for children’s licenses

A:  Why should they?

Q:  are you living a better life than your father

A:  Yes.

Q:  fun things to do if students sleep in your lecture room

A:  I’m a fan of having the entire class leave (I haven’t done this, but one of my undergrad professors did).  My partner tends to just stand there in front of their desks.  I tend to wake the person up and suggest they get more coffee.  Here’s a suggestion from our google searchers: “a student fell asleep in class and i couldn’t help but snap a photo”

Q:  creative, funny sexual positions?

A:  Wrong blog!  Try the sexademic link over there on the side bar.

Q:  something funny to say to your best friend

A:  Q1:  Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?  A1:  Because it was dead.  hahahaha

Q:  what is the metal band that did “i like to eat apples and bananas”