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20 things I am considering worrying about

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's not that I don't already have a few things that I worry about.

There is the total absence of 'bedtime', the imposition of unwanted gender norms on my little guys, toxins in our foods, an upcoming 4th birthday party that I have to design and host so that it will be memorable, enjoyable and socially acceptable with all kinds of unfamiliar rules and expectations, and...I could go on.

But why not have a list of things I could worry about, should I feel the need to expand my worrying horizons? I'm not one to turn away from new opportunities. These are all things I am not quite worried about, yet, but I occasionally consider that they might have some worry merit, or, in some cases, I sometimes remember that they are probably deserving of worry, but then I forget, or get too freaked out, or realize that it's futile.

Anyways, in no particular order:

1) I have to have a killer PhD proposal ready by November in order to apply for the scholarship I covet. Getting it is the only way that I will go ahead with actually doing a PhD. And I still don't have a tiny little idea for a topic.

2) The 500-page book on Latin American social and political theory that I am translating (what was I thinking?) is due in October. And yeah, things aren't exactly zooming along.

3) I need friends. Here in Macondo, if at all possible, and it's not looking very promising.

4) It might be five years before Macondo Papa and I can go out for dinner, go for a walk, read Le Monde Diplomatique to each other or make an uninterrupted comment.

5) We may never find a babysitter.

6) My wrinkles. Ack! I can't believe I even said that.

7) The Monster is almost 4 and still takes almost 2 hours to fall asleep every night. With us lying in bed with him, motionless, in the dark. Is this insomnia? Is this a sign of something bigger that he needs our help with?

8) The Monster's difficulties with adapting to change. See #9-11.

9) The Monster's occasional stutter (currently non-existent, but at times quite prominent).

10) The Monster's fingers in his mouth, all the time or not so much, depending on... I only wish I could figure out what.

11) The Monster's obsession with certain clothing items, which comes and goes, and  can take on extreme proportions, depending on... I only wish I could figure out what.

The socks have to be pulled all the way up, always, or no other shirt but that specific shirt must be worn, every day, no matter what, or wearing a sweatshirt would clearly be equivalent to torturing him with unspeakable techniques. OR he's perfectly agreeable to whatever clothes you offer him, or easily makes a choice between the climate-appropriate options you present.

12) The Monkey may soon have the same size feet as the Monster, and we might actually have to buy him some shoes instead of having an abundance of hand-me-down options.

13) The Monkey may never outgrow hitting. Is all this aggression just age-appropriate testing of limits and learning how to be an acceptable human, or might I be raising a sociopath?

14) The Monkey's daycare situation is still unresolved. For three weeks now, either Macondo Papa or I have been staying with him (often just out of sight) all morning long. And now we are considering starting the adaptation phase all over again at a different daycare. We're not getting a whole lot of other things done.

And this, lest you not realize what I'm dealing with here, is in Macondo, where Every Single Bill you might want to pay means standing in line at the corresponding service provider along with the rest of the world., praying that the power won't go out, the 'system' won't go 'down', they haven't decided to stop accepting, say, money, or some other impediment won't render your entire morning wasted, again. And oh yeah, see #2

15) This. Ewwwww. Luckily, my kids just play with a few stainless steel cups in the bath, and the occasional stray plastic dinosaur that does not normally live in the bathroom. So I have just started washing the cups when I shower, and all is well.

What should possibly worry me more is the actual bathtub they use, which is a little plastic baby tub. Despite air-drying and occasional washing, it is probably a really cozy home to lots of icky stuff I'd rather not know about.

(Re-reading this, I feel like it misrepresents me as a very clean person, which I am not. Which is why I am not including a picture of our bathtub in its natural habitat.)

16) My kids have already outgrown their bathtub, and still occasionally insist on having baths together. There is no foreseeable solution to this, other than getting used to showering. But, they don't seem to mind the squishiness, and absolutely love how easy it is to make the water overflow all over the bathroom floor.

17) My kids' swearing. I don't really worry about this, but I'm throwing it in there to maybe seem like an appropriately concerned parent.

18) The absence of school choices we can feel really good about. We'd prefer public, but that isn't even an option until next year for the Monster, and it also has its issues. And the private alternatives have most of the same issues - conservative values, ridiculous traditional methods and routines, huge classes, tiny classrooms - along with the added perk of atrocious and expensive uniforms.

19) Dengue fever. There was an outbreak here last year, and so it is entirely possible that there will be another one this year, or next. Most certainly, there will be outbreaks eventually. I have already had Dengue, AND IT SUCKS. It is Terrible. I was hit quite hard, and I was alone, literally alone, all by myself, in a little hut on an island in Nicaragua, hallucinating with fever and pain for days and days.

The thought of my kids getting Dengue FREAKS ME OUT. And, since I have already had it, I am now vulnerable to the hemorrhagic form (did you hear that? the hemorrhagic form!), with lovely symptoms like bleeding gums and eyballs and DEATH.

I am just going to take a few deep breaths now, and continue on with my list.

20) Our exposure to DEET and other anti-mosquito necessities. We try to minimize this - repellent on the clothes instead of our skin, good ventilation, and so on - but we are definitely exposed to more of this than I would like. And my kids are still so young. But, see #19.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. I have a book to translate and a PhD proposal to wish into existence.

(By the way, I don't actually recommend writing lists like this one. I thought it was a cute, amusing little idea at first, but now it seems more like a good way to pepper your week with worry, even if you started out just fine. Lesson learned.)


Flo said...

Wow, that is quite a list. Just picking out a couple of them (not because they're more important than the others but just because I had something to say about them):

20) Chemical exposure: On a much smaller scale for us but it's still a worry. I keep finding Redback spiders in our backyard. Today I found one that was the biggest I have ever seen in my entire life. My parents keep saying that I ought to spray the place but I'm more terrified about what the chemicals will do to us and our fledgling veggie patch than I am of the spiders, which are actually pretty slow.

And our son has learned to be careful and keep a look-out for them. But still, the guilt if something should happen. The guilt anyway.

13) Son outgrowing hitting: We're right there with you. Hitting and kicking and currently telling me to "shut up". No answers there. It's wearing me down! I too have nightmares that I am raising a sociopath. Should never have read "In Cold Blood".

It sounds like you've got a lot on. I hope there's still occasionally time to write a post or two now and again!

Gappy said...

The title of this post made me laugh, but I can see that Dengue fever is not funny at all...

As for the swearing thing, I was forced to give up worrying about that a long time ago.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Macondo Mama, This is QUITE a list. I have to admit though that some of your worries are the same as mine. Although I am extremely lucky to not have to worry about Dengue Fever which sounds absolutely horrific and I'm sorry you had to suffer through that EVER, but most esp. alone. How awful.

The hitting? My Diego went through a terrible hitting phase and it is just now waning and he is 2 and a half. The clothes festishes? My parents tell me that I wouldn't adjust to wearing the appropriate clothes for the season until I was like 6 or something. I wanted to wear long underwear and coats in the summer. And tank tops and mini skirts in the winter. Stuff like that. The lying in bed for hours while your kids fall asleep? Check. Got that one down too. School choices? Pretty much suckish around here and that's why I am homeschooling at this point. Hoping to find a good Montessori that is affordable for next year or the year after. The enormous Monkey feet? Can't help you on that one, but I must say that my older son's feet are as wide as they are long. So there you have it. I'm not sure if that was helpful at all...cuz I can't promise we are in the normal range or anything. But at least you know you've got at least one friend out there writing a list similar to yours. XOXOX

macondo mama said...

As soon as I published this post, I regretted not breaking it down into a few separate ones. It's all a bit overwhelming, presented this way, I know.

Flo: It is such a toss-up with nasty chemicals that obviously serve a purpose, but could maybe be avoided, or not. I absolutely despise having to make these kinds of choices.

It's great if your son can learn to be aware of his surroundings and protect himself that way. We are all trying to learn that here with respect to the poisonous snakes, and the Monster is often better at remembering to look in the grass than I am.

(I should have added poisonous snakes to my list, now that I think about it).

Organic: If my Monkey doesn't grow out of hitting until he is 2 and a half, I am worried for the safety of everyone he comes into contact with for the next year! And I am laughing at the image of your son's feet - ha ha - thanks for sharing. The school thing is tough. Finding anything remotely non-traditional here is completely impossible. So we are trying to focus on at least subverting as much as possible here at home.

Gappy: Glad to see I'm not alone on not worrying about the swearing. Here it is no big deal, but if they ever get as good at it in English then I'm sure we will get lots of raised eyebrows back home. And then I guess my kids can just tell them to go take a shit somewhere, or something.

Katie said...

That is a monumental list of worries! Here's my take on a couple of them:

2) Let me know if you need a helping hand with the translation work.

3) I understand the difficulties of making friends in a small town where you're probably one of the only foreigners! One of my resolutions for 2010 was to make some friends here in Necochea, so last month I joined a chorus (I sang in a chorus in the U.S. for many years). I'm loving it so far, and everyone has been very welcoming. I know you don't have tons of free time, but maybe you could take an art class or something similar once a week for an hour or two to help you meet some new people.

19 and 20) Dengue is definitely cause for concern, especially in your case since you've had it once already. Since we're further south, dengue is relatively uncommon here, but I still worry about it. I loathe using OFF, but if it keeps me from getting dengue fever, so be it. We also use the liquid plug-ins at night to keep the mosquitoes at bay. They produce no odor and are quite effective. I'd continue to use the chemicals in as responsible a manner as possible (like you're already doing) rather than risk a mosquito-borne illness.

Anonymous said...

It feels as though I want to write a post like this every day. Thanks for the warning on the spiraling, because that does concern me. I start with 20 and wind up with 50, wracked with sobs and torturing husband which would make it 51.

One year ago I had several of the same issues and can say: mine does now sleep, we did find a sitter (whom we can't afford and therefore don't use, but still...), and we're managing the toxic stuff as best we can. So, you can worry 30% less about two or three of the 20. See how useless I can be? And, with that, I'm up to #52 on my own list...

macondo mama said...

Katie - I will definitely let you know if I am drowning in the translation. I think the only classes they might offer here where I live would be in...um...I can't think of any. I'm glad your friend-making mission is going well though.

We do use the plug-in liquid repellent here too, but while I'm happy the clear, odourless liquid allows me to periodically forget that it's probably poisoning us, I do occasionally remember. I agree though, dengue would be worse.

Naptime - As soon as I finished this list, I started a new one with the things I had forgotten. It may be endless. Does torturing your husband help? I could give that one a try.

Mom of Three said...

Most of the stuff I don't worry about. Until they are in school full time, who cares about bed time? Summer is a free for all. Eat when hungry. Sleep when tired. No beatings or bedtime struggles. I watch these and cringe. I mean, what the heck? Why are these the hills people die on? Really, if there's a drop dead time to get out of the house in the morning, then guess what, they'll sleep the next night! People do love to bow to the schedule.

Cuss words? Family behavior and public behavior. Learn it, love it. Get stickers for it.

Until I found I school I liked, we home schooled. It was great! Field trips whenever! Get the Book of Knowledge, and you''ll know where all your kids' markers should be. We went online later for schooling. Great! Calvert. Great! Finally found a decent school when Eldest hit 6th grade! Hey, we held out.

macondo mama said...

Mom of Three: You have stickers for cuss words?

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