23 February 2006

Put to Death

Finally someone has a fresh perspective on the death penalty. Joan Ryan wrote her column just for me today. When I heard that the anesthesiologists refused to participate in the most recently planned San Quentin execution, I thought if we just went back to hanging, this wouldn’t be an issue. I oppose the death penalty, but I find interest in the nuances of the argument. We have reduced legalized murder to a sterile spectator sport. If more people could witness the raw death of a hanging or beheading perhaps they would rethink that vote. Photos of meat processing farms made me give up meat. 19 years later those images of sad cow eyes are still effective.

This man will be put to death. (Does that come from “put to sleep,” what we tell children when the dog is euthanized? Are we children who need some buffer from the truth?) Like Ryan, I don’t care too much about his pain. I think there was some merit in eye-for-an-eye punishments, I just don’t think we should go so far as murder-for-murder. But what about the family of Terri Winchell, mourning her for 25 years? And the murderer’s family, what of them? The survivors know raw pain and can’t hide their realities behind sterile sheets, simple phrases, or legal arguments. Ever since I could find the outline of Stella's foot inside my womb, I have had her brutal murder, her tragic accident, her kidnapping- in multiple forms -play out in my untamed imagination. These waking nighmares stike at any time, raise my heart rate, embarrass me. If they were real, I would want someone other than me or her to suffer.

16 February 2006

Shoe Shopping

When something is on sale and appears to be of good quality and style, I consider buying it. I almost never pay full price and often shop second hand. I rarely buy shoes. My husband is the shoe man. Not me. I can’t understand spending $60, $80, or $120 on shoes. I bought Stella’s “first shoes” today. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I went to use a gift certificate we received when she was born. It is from a store filled with imported gossamer dresses and suede jackets. It also has a large shoe selection. The owner is the shoe fitter. She had me hold the excited post-Gymboree Stella over the metal foot measurer. 4.5 narrow or medium. I eagerly displayed the mauve mary janes at a gift certificate worthy $56. “Not for her first shoes. A mary jane is never a first shoe.” I tried the sporty, blue and red Italian model for $78. “She needs something with a lower profile, a softer sole.” She already has Robeez- the shoe with a strip of leather for the bottom, but they don’t work in the rain.

She brought out two dark, featureless pairs that didn’t bowl me over with their style, but I would pay $80 for each! There were four other mom-kid shopper dyads in the shoe section. One girl was a day younger than Stella. Her mom was buying her “second” shoes. Cute ones with a funky sole and strappy Velcro top. I found out that she had been walking the same amount of time as Stella. So I asked the owner/shoe expert why my daughter had to wear some ugly shoes. “These are her first shoes.” Well she’s been in other shoes. “But they’re the first to me. I go by the book.” I know I should have stomped right out the door in my poorly fitted bargain sale shoes, but guilt held me like a sink weight. The expert went on about posture and gait and some kids need wedges and lifts and it’s my job to keep the development in the right direction. So we ended up what is probably the latest version of my “first shoe.” A $40 pair of plain white lace-up Stride Rites- and the compliant knowledge that we’ll be buying new shoes every three months until she’s four. The good news is that in three months we can spend more money and get something cute.

07 February 2006

It's the Fingers' Fault

It wasn’t an overindulgence of blueberries. She had a stomach bug, and it went around. Over the next week, every 48 hours, it got me then our nanny-share family. It was only 24-hours for each of us, but I nearly cried to go to the Emergency in the three sweaty, chilly, moaning hours before I finally careened over the proverbial porcelain. I did feel much better afterwards- just like everyone always says. Birth excepted, last week’s puke fest was my third in over 15 years. I suppose it is a glimpse of the good bugs to come from having a child who sticks her fingers in other children’s drooly mouths and snooty noses, and various undersides of benches, corners of dirty floors, whatever! as often as she can.

Today she was digging in the pebbles near the bird sanctuary at the lake when she was approached by a goose. Being the good mother I am, I immediately started taking pictures without ever giving thought to shoo the creature away. It was probably almost her weight and looking for a handout. Stella turned with a pebble and the goose thought it was morsel of something good. Nipped her little fingers. Naturally being the good mother I am, I started to laugh. The goose went in for more and got her other hand. Now I know in some corner of my intellect that they can be nasty creatures, but I also spent half my childhood luring squirrels to the sliding glass door with my outstretched hand. So I can forget sometimes that wild animals and babies might not be the best mix. With the left hand nibbled and her mother laughing harder, she cried. My sensible mama friend told that goose where to go, and I got Stella and kissed away the double insults.