I am Skeptical

Now that I am a grandma, I have spent a lot of time skipping down memory lane. Today, I want to discuss potty training, which was a reward which every parent impatiently anticipated and celebrated its success.

I opened my baby book and discovered that I began my adventures in potty training at the age of—wait for it, wait for it—7 ½ months!! I kid you not. According to my mom’s entries in my book, I apparently had some success well before my first birthday. I find that hard to believe.

What does this really mean? Apparently this coincided with the moment when I was able to sit alone unaided, so I guess Grandma just plopped me on the potty. Did she follow a signal, or did she just strap me aboard and forced me to remain there until success was achieved?

If you are repulsed when changing a number-two-filled disposable diaper, I must tell you that it is a piece of cake compared to changing a similarly filled cloth diaper, so I understand rushing the process. However, I am extremely skeptical of the success of placing a child on the throne at such a very young age.

I need to have a chat with Grandma about this.



We’ve Come a Long Way, but Not Far Enough Yet

After a historic number of women were elected to public office this week, including at least 35 newly-elected to the House of Representatives—joining 65 already serving—I decided to look back on some of the advancements for women’s rights since I was born.

When I was five, the FDA approved birth control pills, and what surprised me in learning this was that nineteen years earlier, it was illegal to send information through the mail because that was considered to be obscene.

President Kennedy established the “President’s Commission on the Status of Women,” which recommended affordable day care, paid maternity leave, and fair hiring. I think we still have a long way to go on these issues.

Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, making it illegal for women to be paid less than men for the same job, and the Supreme Court ruled, in 1965, that contraception was now legal between married couples.

Employment ads by sex were no longer permitted, and the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress when I was a junior in high school, but it still has never been ratified by enough states.

In 1971, unmarried individuals were permitted to use contraceptives, discrimination in schools based upon sex was banned in 1972, and women were given the right to a safe and legal abortion in 1973.

Women could no longer be discriminated against for being pregnant, the Supreme Court decided that sexual harassment at work is illegal, and the first woman was elected to that court in 1982.

No longer are women banned from serving in combat, and just two years ago, woman were permitted to serve in any job in the armed services.

We have come a long way, but we still have not had a woman elected to the presidency. I eagerly await that day. I hope it comes years before our little two-year old sweetie can run for office.



Was it Enough?

I am beginning this day feeling both hopeful and anxious. How will this day end? Will tomorrow show the world that America is not satisfied with the status quo, or will we be looked upon around the globe with continued worry and confusion?

Politics never interested me. I never went to a march or a political rally, never communicated with my representatives, never allied with a particular party, and never did anything more than vote.

This time it is different. I am worried about the future for my children and grandchildren. Clean air and water, affordable healthcare and equality for all, and the return of integrity and trust has made me an activist.

It began with the Women’s March, followed by the realization that marching and carrying a clever sign was not enough. I decided to dip my toe into local politics. I attended and hosted meetings, where I learned how I could make a difference.

I wrote hundreds of postcards for my candidates for governor and Congress. I learned how to register people to vote. I helped organize a candidates’ forum. I visited my current congressman every week, armed with cookies and questions in the hopes of proving or disproving the fact that he does not answer to his constituents. Sadly, I learned he does not care about me.

I made telephone calls during primary season and knocked on doors as part of the Get Out The Vote campaign (GOTV). This got me out of my comfort zone when I saw that people were thankful for the information I provided on the candidates as well as how and where to go to vote early absentee.

In the wake of so much gun violence, I joined Moms Demand Action, a national group intent on enacting more common-sense gun laws. With this group, I learned how an idea becomes a law in my state, when I attended subcommittee and committee meetings, which happen before a law can be voted upon by the legislature.

I did a lot, but did I do enough? I will know tomorrow when I see the election results. No matter what, when my grandchildren read about the 2018 election in their history books, I will be able to tell them the story of the people I met, the things we all did, and how Grandma did not let this election go down without a fight.

Hurry Hurry Hurry

Hurry, hurry, hurry, everyone! Today is November 2, so the Christmas season has officially begun. I became acutely aware of this yesterday when I started channel-surfing on my car radio and discovered that the Christmas station is already up and running. (Channel 4 for anyone interested.) I am already late in acknowledging this.

So toss out those pumpkins before they rot. Take down those Halloween wreaths from your front doors and put away your costumes and decorations. Eat that candy before you begin baking the cookies. Begin creating your Christmas lists for Santa and your loved ones.

Should I even bother displaying my Thanksgiving decorations—the ceramic pilgrims and tacky Mr. Rushmore salt and pepper shakers that I love? It’s time to put up those outdoor lights and drag out the Christmas tree. Hurry, hurry, hurry, before it’s too late!


Anything Goes Nowadays!

Growing up in New Jersey, October 30 was more than just the day before Halloween. It was called Mischief Night, and apparently it still is, but according to my research, I learned that it is primarily a New Jersey tradition. Inhabitants of Kansas, Utah, and North Dakota would fail the Jeopardy question: What holiday involves toilet paper, eggs, and shaving cream?

I recall going out with my friend, Karen, and wandering the streets near my house armed with toilet paper to decorate the trees and bushes. Looking back on this now, I cannot imagine why my parents would have allowed me to do this—both because of the minor vandalism involved, and more importantly, the fact that they would permit us to do this at all. I did not allow any of you to do this, did I? What were they thinking?

I could go on, and I was planning to discuss the history of this night, but then we turned on the television and saw an extremely unsettling commercial. It involved a man and woman discussing bowel movements! Not the code-name “number 2”, but bowel movements! Take a moment to think about that. This was more than just a casual conversation between friends. It came with the visuals of them sitting on the toilet.

What has this world come to, I ask? Is nothing in this world sacred anymore?

It Could Not Get Much Better

We went to see “Hamilton” last night, and I admit I was nervous. After all the hype surrounding how wonderful the show is and therefore how difficult it is to score a ticket, I worried that I would not like it but would admit it. I did not even know the music was predominately rap. I am so uncool.

I am happy to report that I loved it—honestly! I realized how little I know of American history. I know the history of the explorers: Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco De Gama, and Henry Hudson to name a few. I know about the Civil War from the point of view of a Northern education. Sad to say, I did not know that Alexander Hamilton was responsible for our nation’s banking system nor did I know how his son met his fate.

But the incredible show was not all that was memorable. Did I mention the bathroom at the Blumenthal Theater? My friend Mary and I decided to pay a visit to “the loo” during intermission. As soon as we exited the theater and feasted our eyes on the line, I believed I would just have to cross my legs and think of little but the desert during Act II. No way would we make it inside the hallowed halls of the bathroom before the curtains rose for the remainder of the show.

Little did I know that once inside, we would be presented with 48 stalls manned by two women traffic directors, who moved traffic in and out with indescribable efficiency? Did I mention that it was very, very clean? Mary and I completed our mission with time to spare. If we had wanted, we could have filled our bladders with a lovely glass of red or white.

As someone who critiques all bathrooms, this was truly noteworthy. An award-winning bathroom, great company and a memorable show. It could not get much better.

He Wants What?

The countdown begins. Stores are already decking their halls, and children are making their lists for the jolly old elf. Therefore, it should not have been surprising that Bryce would want to discuss his most-wanted gift with Dad and me already.

“Grandma, do you know what a robot vacuum is?” he asked me this week. I immediately thought of the round vacuum that my own parents had, but he could not possibly be speaking of that, could he? He went on to describe this very cool floor-cleaning device, which could clean both the carpeted floors and wood floors as well.

When I mentioned it to his mom, she informed me that he was indeed interested in this household helper. He wanted to show it to her, so he went to YouTube and tried to find it himself—typing in R-B-T. Mommy explained that he needed to add a few “O’s”, and once he had typed in R-O-B-O-T followed by “V,” up popped an array of videos.

“It costs a lot of money,” she pointed out to him.

“It won’t cost us anything because Santa will bring it. It will be fun too, because we can chase it all over the house.”

Well then, how do you respond to this? I am willing to bet that Santa will not receive this request from a single other child.