Easing Back In

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life,Miscellaneous,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on September 28, 2006 @ 10:20 pm

Lest anyone think that blogging is a walk in the park, it’s not. It would be even less so if I cared about my traffic. It’s a difficult matter to find things over the course of the day (if you blog at night as I do) that are 1) relevant, 2) interesting, 3) open to augmentation by comments of mine. Multiply these items by 1) the Blog-Saturation Factor (i.e. the number of blogs I read every day plus the number I comment on, which eats up no small amount of time and prevents me from wandering around for stories that I haven’t already seen blogged), and 2) the Toddler Factor. While it’s true that blogsurfing is relatively easy to do with a toddler about, easier than many things that can’t be dropped on a dime when The Little Bean needs Mommy for reading books, pretend-cooking plastic food, or taking her shot like a big girl when it’s time to play doctor, the Toddler Factor also doesn’t make for long stretches of coherent thought.

So in the spirit of blogging whatever comes to the fore when I sit down to the “Write Post” page, here is the Easing Back In rundown.

1) Look what SeeDub found just for me! Bonus: in addition to the LotR fun, I’m always pleased to find other conservative-type Oregon bloggers about. Yes, Virginia, they do exist, and the proof shall be added to the blogroll. Also, according to Michael Medved, so does Bigfoot. Who, I’m quite sure, is also an Oregon resident.

2) Allah’s losing the South. I’m thinking a blog caucus: The Southerners of Hot Air. Bryan, SeeDub, Mary Katharine Ham, yours truly, and the commenters who gave AP the static. We could make a calendar. With pictures of country ham, grits, biscuits and gravy (cream OR redeye), fried apples, mashed potatoes, pinto beans, and cornbread, of course! What kind of calendar were you thinking about?

3) Speaking of food, Nina Planck says sausage and gravy are good for me. As well as butter, cream, cheese, red meat, eggs cooked in bacon grease, and basically anything the medical establishment has warned against in the last thirty years except refined sugar and flour. And trans fats. Those are definitely bad; ironically, they arose to replace the butter and lard that were supposedly so dangerous. I’m reading her book, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, right now. I’m hooked. She confirms things I’ve thought for a long time but haven’t had the research to back up: namely, that naturally produced fats like butter and lard have got to be better for you than manufactured cooking oils. Turns out they are. Hallelujah! She’s got more good stuff: the reason why I’m mildly lactose intolerant, enough that although I think I want a bowl of cereal, when I’m done eating, it turns out I really didn’t want it after all, might be because industrial processing breaks down the very enzyme in milk, lactase, that aids in the body’s processing of lactose! One problem for us Southern-heritage girls, though: Mom’s biscuits are made with vegetable shortening, which is loaded with hydrogenated whatchamacallit trans fat. Looks like I need to get a good recipe for lard biscuits.

4) The schooling turmoil continues, amid potty-training tactics, here at Chez Anwyn. Out of the seven (!) preschools I visited last spring, only one is a possibility, a small Montessori model run in my church. This article goes a long way towards convincing me The Little Bean would be well off there; it’s a constant argument in my head about preschool vs. homeschool. I think The Bean would be, by far, best off here at home with Mom, but I question my chops to do the job–my patience, specifically, not my brains. I admire Venomous Kate’s capacity for the vocation; she’s got some great remarks on the dishonesty of the “socialization” argument against homeschooling. One quote from the Montessori study article leaped out at me:

Dr Angeline Lillard, from the University of Virginia, who co-led the study, said: “We found significant advantages for the Montessori students in these tests for both age groups.

“Particularly remarkable are the positive social effects of Montessori education. Typically the home environment overwhelms all other influences in that area.”

At first I thought it meant the homeschool model outstrips the schools in producing positive social development and that Montessori was able to hang in. On further readings, I’m not so sure; does it mean the home environment overwhelms all other attempts at particular socialization–i.e. whatever the school tries to do with respect to socialization, the home influence can engulf? Either way it seems I win.

Tim P. commented at Kate’s that the important thing is, of course, parental involvement and guidance no matter what model of school is chosen. While that’s true, Kate’s point is still very well taken: that schools don’t automagically churn out socially well adjusted citizens and it’s a crock to assert otherwise, especially when the “argument” is being used as a club by people who just don’t like homeschooling. For whatever reason.

5) If people you know read your blog, it takes a hefty amount of chutzpah to do this. Here’s another, and one more. They’re fascinating to read even when you don’t know the person writing and can have no clue who she’s speaking to. When you spot one that’s either similar to something that you’d like to say to somebody in your life or that you imagine somebody could say to you, it’s a little clue to the universality of human experience. Well, that, and it’s a totally gossipy look into the lives of strangers. (Via Alarming News, where Karol recognized trouble when she saw it.)

Update: I keep thinking about that quote from the Montessori article. Somebody should clarify with Dr. Lillard what she meant. Does she mean that ordinarily the home influence overwhelms social patterns picked up at school, except in this case? I.E. that the behaviors picked up at Montessori withstand the way Mom and Dad are telling Junior to act? If that’s the case, I’d have to think again.

image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace