Monday, November 21, 2005

A little it of this...A little bit of that.

As a general rule--I try to avoid blogging about blogging. It just seems kind of mentally masturbatory, and also, umm, kind of lame. However, I've hit a bit of a blogging rut, and need to write about it--just kind of get it out there so I can quit struggling with it.

It's a question of audience. I try and help my students to understand that they must consider audience when writing. In fact, every year, we do an audience assignment. Each student imagines a scenario in which he/she has a super hot date--but no wheels. The student then writes 2 letters: one to a best friend, and one to a grandmother, trying to persuade him/her to loan his/her car to the student for the night. We discuss what information is left in--and left out depending on the audience. We talk about how the word choice is different--as is the tone, and the voice.

So now, here I am with this blog--and I'm really really struggling with audience. At first--my audience really was me. I just wrote stuff about me--about Sophie--and what I wrote, I wrote for an audience of one. Then, enter my Philly girls. So sweet--so funny--and now when I write, I can't help but write with a mind toward them reading it. Here comes Kods, Katy, and Mandy, then the Seattle bunch, plus a couple of Utah pals, my husband, and a handful of others here and there, and suddenly--blog paralysis. I can't really write for this audience. People I know--people I don't know--people I kind of know. Some who I want to think I'm witty and caustic. Some who I want to think I'm a decent but unconventional mom. Some who already know me, and just think I'm in need of a good mental enema. And come to think of it, why should I want anyone to think anything about me really? I was reading Sophie "Horton Hears a Who" last night--and came to realize that my blog is my way of yelling--in my little Who voice, "I am here! I am here! I am here!"

So, audience. I love you--really I do, and quite frankly, I'm kind of dumbfounded and grateful that you even read my blog (Sorry to be having a Sally Fields moment) but from here on out, I'm mentally dismissing you. My last few posts have felt so stilted to me--the voice in them doesn't sound like my voice, and I think it's because I've been trying to hard to sound like what I perceive other people's perception of me to be. And that's just plain silly. (You know like those fights with your husband when he thinks you might be mad at him, so he acts kind of stand off-ish, and so you get kind of mad and start making little comments, and then he gets more mad, and then soon you're having this kind of phantom fight about nothing at all other than what you each thought the other was thinking that you weren't thinking at all?)

So--enough meta-blog-nition.

Sophie Gene has been bringing home the MOST annoying things from school, my least favorite of which is, "You're not coming to my party." Oooh. This one totally pisses me off for 3 main reasons. The first is, she says this to me when she's mad at me, and I'm like "Oh yea? Well sista--any party you have will be put on BY me so you'd better believe that I'll be there." Secondly, I KNOW that some little shit at school said this to her, and for 3 year olds, the "You're not coming to my party" is tantamount to "Fuck off and die." She told me that Alexia said this to her, and today, when I pick her up, I'm going to find out who this Alexia is and possibly have a little chat with her. Finally--if I know Soph, she's already said this to a few other kids, and that, well, that is just not ok. I gave her a couple of time outs this weekend for saying "You're not coming to my party" (after we had discussed that it is not a nice thing to say and that I don't want her to ever say it) and maybe that will help. Sigh.

The second most annoying phrase we're dealing with is "I'm telling on you!" To which I answer, "Who are you going to tell?" This TOTALLY pisses her off, and she says, "I'M TELLING ON YOU!!!" and so I say, "Who are you going to tell?" and then she just kind of shrieks and throws herself on the floor.

I also got my first "I HATE you!" from Soph this weekend. I believe the conflict was over Eggo waffles, and the present lack of them in your house. This, combined with "You're not my friend anymore" and I'm about ready to quit my job and not allow her to ever talk to anyone under the age of 20 ever again.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
We play a Sleeping Beauty game where I have to be asleep, and she comes and wakes me up with a kiss. It's quite sweet.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Really--what do you do about this awful stuff they learn at day care? I just have no freakin' idea.


the beige one said...

well, I hope you still welcome comments...because the meta-blog-commentary is exactly what I went through before deciding to write whatever I felt like writing about. Kinda freeing that, even if the results are schizo. So, yeah, I get it.

Anyhoos, on the wee sprat front, what my mom did with us (which I later adopted when babysitting the younger sibs) was a little taste of the medicine we put out. Because other kids did it, it never really felt as unfair as hearing it from a grown up.

So, after the initial shock of it all, she'd sit down with us and talked it all out. Usually starting with, "you didn't like how that felt, huh?" no "So, why'd you say it to me/that kid/the priest?"


Jen O. said...

I can't speak for anyone else, but I would rather read what you want to write about than what you think you should write about.

The lessons learned in writing for a specific audience can't be understated. However, I think blogs are an anomaly in that respect: They are essentially diaries that we allow other people -- mostly strangers -- to read. I know there are many who will argue with that notion ("diary" has gotten such a bad rap), but I believe it's true (unless you write an industry or other non-personal blog).

So go and write what you want to write, pay no mind to the faces pressed against the window. And if anyone has an issue with it, uninvite them to your party.

Kodi said...

Dude, I love your blog, and I love hanging with you. I have no preconceived notions as to what I expect you to blog about. So, blog on baby.
Kiri picked up on things like that at daycare as a child. I think you are handling it just right, by putting her in time out and letting her know it is NOT okay to say those things.

Missuz J said...


Of COURSE I welcome comments. I LIVE for comments. I'm just going to try and write as though I don't.

KATIEmagic said...

A blog is really for oneself more than anything else so it makes sense to write what you want how you want.

rob said...

Good on you, sista. Ups to that.

Honestly, I read your shit for the times when it's obvious you don't care what anyone thinks. I can't think of a time when I read a posting of yours and thought, "Damn...girl's just trying too hard." I laugh/melt/smile hardest/most/brightest when you're just being honest...which seems to be all the time.

I say write what you want, girl. I know that I'll keep reading.

NME said...

I LOVE your blog because I enjoy your voice, your candor, and your inability to fake it. I THINK you seem like the kind of gal that no matter how much you may want to put up a mask occasionally - in the end you can't hide. I trust you.

Jen said...

As a costant part of your audience, I find your blog to be very interesting and I hope that if you have been holding back or don't feel that you have been completely true to yourself in your writing that you will give us a chance and try it out. As far as perception though, you seem to me to be one of the most genuine bloggers out there.

lonna said...

I agree with everyone else. I come to your blog to see what you think about your life, and the best way to do that is for you to write for you. I love you brutal honesty and your refusal to sugar coat parenthood. Sophie is awesome, but she does a lot of preschooler crap, and you need a place to share that and to vent, and we all benefit from knowing what to look forward to. I am not looking forward to Dermot coming home with all sorts of stuff from day care. Right now he doesn't talk enough to pick anything up, but when he starts, I am sure that he will go, go, go.

Underachiever said...

aww my teacher loves me. Totally having a "Mary Kay Letourneau" Moment here!

Undr(Thanks for the linkage)

PS Writewatchalike!

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

First let me say - I enjoy your blog - whatere your mood!

Second - Should I come beat up the little kid that hurt Sophie by not inviting her to her party? (Oh - she's probably already over it by now - so maybe I should stay out of it. But the mom/grandma in me kicks in everytime I hear a wee one being ugly to another)

Third - My grandsons don't go to daycare and they still come up with the saying from 2 hours a week in Sunday School play dates etc. So quitting your job would just hurt the youth you touch and not really help Sophie that much!

Keep on Blogging - Sista I love reading your blogs!

patrice said...

I totally know exactly what you mean. I have found myself in the same situation numerous times. like I have to remind myself to not worry about everyone or try to be so whatever I'm trying to be. I wholeheartedly agree on dismissing the audience.

oh, and if you were wondering if your little family has infiltrated more than the blog area of my brain, I saw these care bear puffy stickers at the checkout line at target on friday and immediately thought "hey, sophie would LOVE those."

Kat said...

We want to hear YOU, nothing else. That's why we read...we like you.

shawnak said...

I'd like to just echo the comments of the others. I love your blog and feel priviledged to be able to read it! Write just for you girl, you are doing great!!!!
I love hearing about Sophie and her cuter that hell sayings, even though they may frustrate you I laugh out loud every time, probably b/c my 12 year old doesn't say cute things anymore! His famous one he would always say to me was "where the hell are you going?" At age 2!!!!!

Jacques Roux said...

well, I know I'm a little bit behind in the response time-frame, but I've got to totally agree with everyone else. First, in that this (blog-paralysis) is exactly what I'm going through right now. Not that I have much of a readership, but I still imagine "all those faces against the window". I've always been a bit self-conscious like that. Second, I love your "underpants". Initially, when I first started reading other folks' underpants and considering an underpant for myself, I wasn't at all interested in your little ditties. But after a little bit of time, (VERY little, in fact), your stuff grew on me like mold on an half empty glass of beer left over after a frat party in the humid Midwest, and now I stop in regularly (read: daily).

So take heed one of the few things I actually learned in college: 1) It's good enough for who it's for; and 2) Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.

Now, let me have a word or two with Sophie, and I'll show her what to do with punk-ass bitches who don't invite her to their party.