Monday, February 28, 2011

Time is up!

Well, as of just over a week ago, I am now a mom of two! That's right--Peyton finally made an appearance, and although he was a couple weeks early, I had two solid days of "false" labor that made him seem more than overdue when he decided to show!

When I get my feet under me a little better, I will be posting more. Every time I think I've got this double duty handled, something weird comes up, but I have a feeling that's how it will be for the forseeable future. At least Peyton is a sleeper--Sam was not, from day 1, and now I understand why some people actually enjoy the newborn period. I will now stop secretly trying to get you committed to an insane asylum. I still wouldn't say the newborn period is my "fave" since I prefer a little more responsiveness from my kids, but it's not the zombie-like 24 hour a day exercise in frustration I seem to remember the first time around. Sleeping 3 hours at a stretch instead of 30 minutes makes a huge difference.

If you know me and you want to see pictures, you can check out the private family blog here. If you aren't on the permission list, you can pass me a note, call, text, message Daniel on facebook (not me, I never check it!), or email me with your email address and I'll add you. If you don't know me well enough to contact me in any of these ways, no offense, but why do you want to see pictures of my kids? And it's going to take a mighty good reason from a total stranger to sway me...

Life is good, and I'll check in later!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

...but not any old commercials

Yesterday, I posted about my love of advertising.
Today--perhaps blame it on pregnancy mood swings--I want to highlight some commercials that I really truly hate. I'm not sure why I have such a visceral reaction to these particular ones, but when they come on, I find myself instantly irritated. They aren't even irritating for a "legitimate" reason, like those awful Go Daddy commercials that are smutting up the planet. Yes, I just used smutting as a verb and no, I don't have a problem with the fact that I sound like a 75 year old curmudgeon.
Anyway, it's been a good long while since I wrote about commercials--so long in fact, that I can't even find my last post to put the link. So, in the *likely* event that these companies find and read my blog, and then decide to spare the planet from continuing to view their horrible horrible ads, I have to make my views known.
The first ad I have to gripe about today is the Huggies Pull-up commercial where all the kids are at the park. One kid goes up to his mom and says "I have to go potty." The mom's response? "I know! The potty dance!" Then the whole park busts into what is apparently "the potty dance." It's insanely stupid. Holy cow lady, he asked for a toilet, not a song! Every time I see it, I can't help but think that maybe the reason her kid is still in pull-ups (which cost more than diapers by the way), as opposed to real underwear is because when he actually asks to go potty, she has to perform a Broadway musical first. This isn't a kid who doesn't want to go potty--he asked to go--so why does he need a motivational musical number? Of course he's going to pee his pants, he's at a public park, so first they have to find a bathroom, hope it's not too vile to use, and now, his mom is stalling the process even further for no apparent reason. Plus, I hate the fact that the so-called potty dance ends with everyone tossing their arms in the air and shimmying while shaking their hips. Geez louise, I'm a grown woman, and granted, there's a huge fetus sitting on my bladder, but if I shimmied and shook like that when I had to pee, I'd probably have an accident myself. Do us all a favor, Huggies, and don't insult the intelligence of parents everywhere by trying to promote some gimmicky potty training dance. Your amazingly overpriced and unnecessary "training pants" are insulting enough without also making our kids expect us to do stupid tricks in public just to get them to pee in the potty. Just because my standards for public humiliation have plummeted since I became a parent doesn't mean they're totally non-existent. At least not yet.

The other commercial that grates on my nerves is for First Response Pregnancy Tests (can you tell I watch a lot of kid/baby shows during the day based on the ads I see?). The commercial starts out with a very concerned sounding lady saying "Your body knows you're pregnant even before you do..." and proceeds to show some really horrible animations of what is presumably their pee stick, catching the "scant amounts" of pregnancy hormone that simply slide right through other pee sticks. This allows you to find out you're pregnant up to 6 days sooner (first of all, I don't know where the 68% of women are they claim can do that, but it didn't work for me--or anyone else I know--that early with either pregnancy). I just totally hate that first line "Your body knows you're pregnant even before you do." I'm sorry, but I just can't help but think, "Well, duh!" Of course your body has to know you're pregnant before you do--if your body didn't "know" there was a baby in there, you know what it wouldn't do? Create, grow, and nourish the baby! Which would result in, no baby. This bugs me because, in fact, there's a lot of things your body has to "know" without you "knowing" it--like to breathe while you're sleeping or even unconscious, to mobilize your immune response to fight infections in their first stages before symptoms appear, to increase blood flow to your muscles and decrease flow to your organs when you exert yourself, to possibly train alternate parts of your brain to perform tasks if the part it normally uses becomes damaged or incapacitated...the list is virtually endless. It just makes sense for our bodies to know things before we do, as annoying as that may be in cases like pregnancy where we're dying to know. I feel like the way they are saying that in a conspiratorial voice its as if they're letting women in on some huge secret that will change their lives--"your own body knows a secret, and it won't tell you, unless you use our test to know the secret a whopping day earlier." Really, it is praying on women in a really manipulative way when they are at their most vulnerable. Let's face it, whether you're hoping for a negative or a positive--it's a hugely suspenseful (and if positive, hormonal!) time when a woman is waiting to know. The last thing they need is a company taunting "I know something you don't know." I know that's how they make their money, but it just seems so crappy to present completely obvious (and essentially irrelevant) "scientific" information as a ploy to make their test your number one choice. Maybe what bothers me most is how well it works--I thought I was wasting a lot of money on pregnancy tests when I was finding out I was pregnant with Sam until I found a co-worker who copped to taking 11 digital tests when she thought she was first pregnant--do you realize how much money she spent peeing on things!?
Come on, advertisers, lets just say what the product does, and not pretend we're imparting the secret to eternal youth, or try to be unnecessarily manipulative, or play on audience ignorance about their own inner workings, ok? Please?
If not, okay fine, but "I know something you don't know!" Annoying, isn't it?

Yes, I realize I'm putting way too much thought into these, but with all the contractions and migraines I've been having lately, I'm pretty much relegated to the sofa watching TV most of the time. You'd put too much thought into these petty things too. It's either gripe at commercials or watch yet another judge show where trashy people argue about dumb stuff. That is something even I won't do...if this baby takes another full three weeks to come out, however, I may get even more desperate.

Monday, February 7, 2011

We Love Advertising

Apparently, I'm not the only one in my family highly susceptible to the power of advertising. My little sister will ask our parents to buy her anything for which she sees an infomercial. She was inordinately upset when Billy Mays died. Seriously, it was sad to see her so broken up, and then, when Michael Jackson (on of her favorite artists) died as well, it was like the universe was personally picking on her. When she stayed with us last summer, she must have asked me to buy her an "instyler" a thousand times. I threatened to beat her with one if she asked again. At that point, she realized she had better luck asking for something cheaper and switched to a ped egg. I started heaving giant sighs and wishing I hadn't made so many empty threats over the past 15 years that they lost all meaning.
I can't condemn her too much however, because as I mentioned, I am highly likely to be swayed by a commercial, just perhaps not as much as Maddie. We both come by it honestly, however. My father has purchased impulse items from both QVC and Skymall. I kid you not--Skymall. Can you say "sucker?"
Since I love a good commercial, of course, I watch the Super Bowl--even when it's a team I only care marginally about (the Packers) playing against a team I completely hate (the Steelers).
Sam woke up from her nap just before halftime, and got to take part in the snacking and football watching that is the Super Bowl at our house. Eating a dinner of various chips and honey roasted peanuts elicited an excited "I like the Super Bowl!" out of her. I also discovered that she pays a lot of attention to me when I don't think she is. Once, when I booed at a Steelers touchdown Sam asked "Mommy, why you say 'BOO?'" So I told her, "Mommy doesn't like the Steelers." Sam's response--"Okay! GO HOME STEELERS!" See, smart kid.
Later, when I cheered for the Packers, she asked me "What a Packers?" Technically, I don't know what a "packer" refers to, but I do know they were the team against the Steelers and I will root for them every time in that case.
The other thing Sam has been paying attention to, apparently, are the talks Daniel and I have been having with her about money. She has been asking for a lot of stuff lately. A lot of stuff. Like pretty much anything she sees. We can't drive by Jamba Juice without her asking for one, she asks to go to McDonalds for lunch and dinner all the time, and when we started explaining to her that (nutrition of french fries temporarily aside) those things cost money and we don't always have extra money to spend on treats, she started changing her tune. At that point she started to ask "If we don't have enough monies for Jamba Juice, can we go to QT? That is less monies." So true, but not at all the point--and can someone please explain to me how on earth my two-year-old figured out the relative costs of smoothies and slurpees? Finally, after several weeks of trying to curtail her maneuvers and alternate options, when she wants something and I say no, she will automatically answer with me in unison--"We have to save our money."
So, yesterday, she was playing on the floor while we watched the Super Bowl, when a commercial for Progressive insurance came on. I wasn't paying much attention to it, as I'd seen it before, and Sam didn't seem to be even looking at the screen. All of a sudden, her head snapped up, riveted to the TV. After a few seconds, she looked right at me and said "Mom--we need this! They SAVE YOU MONEY!"
There you go--the answer to all our money problems is to purchase Progressive Insurance. I'm sure the Progressive people would be thrilled to realize their message is being absorbed by impressionable young minds. Now I get to deal with the reality that there is yet another generation of my family who will be so easily swayed by the suits on Madison Avenue. This one is being raised in a time where there are commercials playing on the endcaps of the aisles of Wal-mart, so it's extra scary to think about! On the other hand, if Sam was paying that much attention to Super Bowl commercials, I guess I should just thank my lucky stars she wasn't asking for a big giant truck or Bud Light, right? It could be worse.