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Archive for March, 2012

A Perfect Fit

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

IEP at Nanny's wedding rehearsal last weekend.

She knew the sign for “cereal.”  That was the thing that first stuck out in my mind about our nanny when we interviewed her more than three years ago.  Amidst versions of the same conversation about tummy time, play-based teaching, redirecting, and emergency scenario planning that we had with all of the other candidates, I remember our nanny wiggling her index finger under her chin and making the sign for cereal.  I don’t know why I keyed in on it so much, but I did.

That was when IEP was 11 weeks old.  Now he is nearly three and a half and Nanny has spent nearly every weekday with him since then.  And I’ve never questioned our hiring decision.  We went with our gut, and it was the right call.

However, the nannying industry isn’t the juggernaut here in the Midwest that it is in many larger cities – specifically New York.  Hiring a nanny in this neck of the woods was overwhelming enough to us as rookies three years ago, but nothing like it would have been in Manhattan.  I think I could have told you that based on instinct a long time ago.  But I can tell you that for a fact after having read this article about the “bizarre microeconomy”  of super high end nannies in New York.

You should read the article yourself, because I’m confident you will walk away reeling at the amount of money a very few people are willing to pay for their childcare.

Author Adam Davidson describes a $180,000 a year nanny and her cadre of skills when it comes to getting young children to brush their teeth and take their baths.  Now I’m all for a smooth bedtime routine, but $180,000?  Really?

I think anyone paying $180,000 for a nanny is getting snookered.  Either 1) they have far more money than brains, in which case I feel sorry for them because they’re in for a lifetime of snookering; or 2) they are paying through the nose for their nanny just so they can say they have a six-figure nanny, in which case they’ve made their bed; or 3) they were too lazy to interview candidates in any substantive manner and just assumed that the most expensive was the best, in which case they’re getting just what was coming to them.  But any way you slice it, they’ve been taken to the cleaners.  This isn’t to say that excellent childcare isn’t exceedingly valuable.  It is just to say that common sense ought to factor into the calculus somewhere.

Raising children is hard work.  Getting kids to eat their vegetables, brush their teeth, pick up their rooms, stop fighting over toys, and remember to say please and thank you is tiring for everyone involved.  And anyone who can make these affairs run smoothly on a daily basis is worth her weight in gold.  (Figuratively speaking, of course.  If we were talking literally the $180,000 salary would buy you a 6.75 pound nanny for a year at today’s gold prices.)  But with a little creativity and clear definition of exactly who is in charge a whole range of people can do it.  There are so many ways to skin this cat.

Getting a household with kids to run like a well-oiled machine is difficult, but not impossible.  It doesn’t require acts of God or magic.  It requires a lot of patience, a lot of persistence, a lot of creativity, and a willingness to discipline.  And there are a lot of people who are able to do it effectively.

You can show me an amazing Alexander McQueen dress in a size six and I may love it.  But I won’t buy it because I don’t wear a size six.  Just because it is exquisite and expertly crafted doesn’t mean that it fits me.  And if it doesn’t fit me I would be a fool to pay $8,000 for it.  The tricky thing about a nanny is that you don’t really know until you’ve hired her whether she’s good at her job and a good fit for your family.  The high dollar candidate may be a perfect fit for someone, but that doesn’t mean she’ll be a perfect fit for you.

A Recipe for Disaster?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

I don’t have an answer here.  But if you know me at all you know that that won’t stop me from asking the question.  This time around the question is: How on earth do we train hot-headed young men to be cocky, trained, killing machines, and then expect them to simultaneously demonstrate prudence and cultural sensitivity?

A pair of stories in this vein have caught my attention recently.

The first incident was the more horrific.  Early this month a US soldier opened fire on Afghan civilians, killing 16.  It boggles the mind, really.  How on earth could this happen?  And yet, when you think about it further it seems even more curious that it doesn’t happen more often.  We take young men, at the most aggressive, arrogant moment in their lives.  It’s the moment when they are technically adults, but still mere adolescents in so many ways.  We train them about the enemy.  We ship them off, thousands of miles from home.  We place them in shockingly stressful situations.  We arm them.  And then we expect them to exercise sound judgment and restraint.

The second incident was alarming, but mostly for its stupidity.  A pair of helicopter pilots in a remote region of Afghanistan were showboating and buzzing an outpost building.  On their rapid descent they lost control of the aircraft, crashed to the ground, and then flipped the helicopter a few times before it finally stopped.  It is either by the grace of God or crazy dumb luck that no one on board or on the ground was killed.  Here again is another example of something that initially seems alarming.  But after pondering all of the contributing factors perhaps we should be surprised we don’t read more stories like this.  Why wouldn’t headstrong young men, stranded in remote mountains, and trained to make amazing pieces of machinery do amazing things, want to have a little fun with their skills every now and then?

It all sounds like a recipe for disaster, and yet to a certain extent we can’t afford to have it any other way.

We need these men (and women) to be confident, even cocky.  We need them to be fearless.  We need them to be able to see a situation in the stark contrast of black and white when the moment comes to pull the trigger.  They are doing a job that most people are unwilling to do and that requires traits that aren’t always easy to muster.  In the words of Colonel Nathan R. Jessup, “…deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!” And he’s right.  We do.

But while we need our military personnel to be able to stand on a wall, we also need them to understand cultures highly different from our own.  We need them to exercise deference and nuance in dealing with people whose assumptions about Americans are likely not favorable.  We need them to respect customs they don’t share and gods they don’t worship.  And we need them to do this in their early twenties and with guns in their hands.

It is an incredible testament to our military and the respect for its chain of command that these kinds of disasters don’t happen more often.  Thankfully most decisions are coming from older, more experienced, and more level headed officers.  And thankfully most younger troops seem to hold their authority in sacred esteem.

Perhaps some of these disasters are par for the course.  I don’t know whether to be disgusted that they happen at all, or grateful that they don’t happen more.  As is the case in most situations that are streaked with grey, I think I feel a little of both.

Going Crazy. Keeping Calm

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

In Britain in 2009 the saying “Keep calm and carry on” was everywhere.  I don’t really know what the genesis was, but it was officially a “thing.”  Since then the saying has been adapted countless ways (my favorite is “Keep calm and act like Kate Middleton”), and my sister found an ironic take on the phrase on a greeting card.  She snatched it up and waited for the right opportunity to send it.

Knowing full well that SSP is slowly killing me with all these overnight feedings, she decided I was the most appropriate recipient.  So last night, after kids were tucked in and my belly was full of risotto and ice cream I opened the mail and found this card from her.

Since we started SSP on cereal last weekend she wrote that she hoped that by the time I received her card he’d be sleeping through the night.  And if not, she recommended that I follow the advice on the front of her card.  It lightened my mood instantly.

Then, in a happy twist of fate last night SSP only woke up once.  Imagine it!  Today I only feel somewhat sleep deprived, which is a vast improvement over incredibly sleep deprived.  Things are really looking up!

So, in response to Anne’s very apt mailing, I created a poster of my own which I think perfectly encapsulates my approach to life these days:

Thanks, Anne.  As always, you know just how to lift my spirits!  I love you.

Not Applicable

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

I’ve made mention here before of the fact that GAP and I intend to adopt.  Well, now that we have our two biological children we have set out on the path toward adoption.  It feels a wee bit crazy to be starting this next parenting adventure before the most recent addition is even sleeping through the night.  But when you consider that the process takes about two years it makes a bit more sense.

We submitted our application a few weeks ago and right now the name of the game is: paperwork.  And lots of it.  Forms, forms, and more forms.  Most of them are fairly predictable – employment verifications, tax returns, medical exam results, and so on.  One form, however, is more of a doozy.  We each have to fill out a 16-page personal information form that addresses everything from our parents’ marital status to what we might do if our adopted child wants to seek out his birth parents.

Not surprisingly when it comes to international adoption there is quite a bit of focus on the racial aspect of things.  We intend to adopt from Asia which means that, by definition, our adopted children will not have the same fair skin and blue eyes that our biological sons have.  The adoption agency – quite rightly – wants to know how we will help our adopted kids deal with any discrimination they may face as minorities, and in that vein asks about what discrimination we have faced in our own lives and how we coped.  One such field requested: Talk about a time when someone made an assumption about you based only on how you look.

I was stumped.

I called my sister and she knew exactly why I was at a loss.  I’m a completely normal looking white woman.  I am of average height and build.  I grew up around people who look largely like I do.  I currently live in an area where most people look largely like I do.  I imagine people have made all sorts of assumptions about me based on my appearance, but none to my detriment.  And that is almost certainly what the adoption form’s question is trying to unveil.  And I wonder about the effect this has on how I go about my way in the world.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mean to sit here and say, “It’s too bad I’ve never been misjudged or discriminated against based on appearances.  My life would really be a lot more colorful if I had some experience in this realm.”  I should be – and am – incredibly grateful that I’m struggling with this question.  But if I am to answer it with a true story (which I will, some way, somehow), I’m going to have to dig to come up with it.

As I talked through it with my sister she told me about a friend of hers.  This friend was from an affluent community in the mid-Atlantic region.  She ended up attending Prestigious University A for undergrad, but amongst her other applications was Prestigious University B.  Prestigious University  B’s application asked her to describe a time when she had been discriminated against based on her race.  In her teenage naiveté she wrote, without a trace of irony, “Not applicable.”  The story is funny now because as adults we all understand that this is the kind of question we are supposed to answer with nuanced empathy.  But a part of me applauds her response for its candor and honesty.  For truly, if you’ve never experienced discrimination of any kind, isn’t it insulting to those who have to pretend that you know anything of what they’ve legitimately endured?

I think what the adoption agency wants to learn is how I will empathize with and support my adopted children when they are  on the receiving end of ignorant and hurtful assumptions based on their race (as they almost certainly will be at some point).  And the fact of the matter is that no matter how genius a response I dream up for my personal information form, I can’t honestly say that I’ve ever experienced what my children will.  When it happens I will listen to them.  I will explain that some people are ignorant, and judgmental, and bigoted.  I will ring up GAP’s brother or sister (both of whom are Asian and were adopted in the mid-’80s) and ask for their perspective and guidance.  And I have confidence that GAP and I together will chart those waters successfully, if imperfectly.

I think it’s a shame that I can’t respond to the form’s query honestly.  A lot of people in this world have lived through real, painful, and damaging discrimination.  And it feels a bit disingenuous for me to claim that I, in any way, am one of them.

Small Accomplishments

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

I’m certainly not alone in finding satisfaction in certain accomplishments.  It feels good to sit back and acknowledge the fruits of your labor.  It’s nice to know that something got done.  A job well done – even if you’re the only one who knows about it – is a welcome addition to any day.  Things like painting a room, finishing a long book, or spring cleaning the whole house are enormously satisfying.  Sadly, though, I’m not crossing many big projects off of my list these days.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of semi-ambitious projects queued up.  I still have plans to start an herb garden this spring.  And I want to refinish the coffe and side tables in our basement.  And I will get through A Tale of Two Cities at some point this year if it kills me.  But for the moment (this moment when sleep and energy are far too dear) I’m finding my satisfaction in smaller accomplishments. 

Sunday was a perfect example.  For a variety of reasons we skipped church on Sunday.*  The boys and I spent the morning puttering around the house, not breaking our necks, but slowly tackling little projects.  Sheets and towels were changed.  Both boys’ dressers were culled of clothes that no longer fit.  My closets were switched out, summer for winter clothes.  A Goodwill donation pile was started.  Two loaves of bread were baked.  A couple dozen sugar cookies were frosted.  Both dogs were bathed and walked.  And both boys took solid afternoon naps. 

At the end of the day I looked back at it and thought, “This was a good day.”  And it was.

As I’ve thought about it since then I have recognized that in their own way, small accomplishments like these can be even more satisfying than big ones.  Perhaps I only feel that way because I’ve lowered the bar lately.  But perhaps there is some truth in it.  On Sunday morning I didn’t set out to have an excessively productive day.  And it was only in the absence of any larger goal that I had the time and inclination to knock out several smaller projects.  I was almost surprised at all that I had accomplished, and tickled by the fact that I wasn’t spurred on by any stress or ambition.  The day turned out to be - as my mother would say -  a pleasant surprise. 

I’m still looking forward to starting my herb garden, getting back into reading, and painting our basement tables.  But in the meantime I’m quite enjoying opening my closet to see all of my spring skirts and blouses.  These small accomplishments can be quite big in their own way. 

*The Calvinist in me must justify myself: GAP is in the throes of a monster month at work and had to spend the entire weekend at the office.  I’m certainly game for doing church with the boys on my own, but given the current sleep deficit I’m facing I just couldn’t muster the wherewithal.  Also, my parents were in town for a weekend visit and they were hitting the road just about half an hour before the service started.  There.  I’ve explained myself.  (You can take the girl out of the Presbyterian church, but you can’t take the Presbyterian church out of the girl…)

A Programming Note

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I’m here to level with you.

As I’ve mentioned recently, my lovely, smiling, cooing, and altogether adorable second son SSP has one fault.  (I’m sure there will be many more in the future, but for the moment it’s just the one.)  He isn’t sleeping through the night.  That alone isn’t such a big deal.  He’s only four months old and lots of babies don’t sleep through the night at his age.  However, he has taken it a step further.  Lately he has been waking up to eat twice most nights.  Sometimes he wakes three times.  If we get through a night with only one feeding I count it a huge victory.  And since maternity leave is a dim and distant memory (sigh), I am no longer able to get my head back above water with an afternoon nap.

This means that I am a wee bit exhausted lately.  (My mother lovingly told me over the weekend, “I’ve never seen you so tired, my dear.”  Ummm, thanks, Mom…)  So, in the interest of my own sanity and that of my family, I’m going to dial it back around here to two posts a week for a while.  You will find my fresh, witty, and insightful thoughts (I’ve decided that anyone who is this tired is entitled to a bit of self-flatttery) here on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next couple of months.  And when SSP starts sleeping through the night and I start feeling like a normal human again, I will return to my standard MWF posting.

So, check back tomorrow for a new post.  Until then, have a wonderful Monday and a wonderful week.

Grits and Gullability

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I was struck late last week by all of the coverage of Mit Romney’s proclamation that he likes grits.  It struck me because it made me sad.  You know there’s a presidential primary afoot when a comment like this makes headline news.

I’m always disappointed when I see a presidential campaign turned into a three-ring circus of gaffes and stunts.  Granted some of this is the fault of the candidates themselves.  (Really, who makes a ten thousand dollar bet during a debate?)  But much of the blame rests on our shoulders.  The antics that candidates go through to curry our favor are largely determined by us.  Much like television networks wouldn’t air reality shows if we didn’t watch them, politicians wouldn’t go to such lengths to prove that they are just like the rest of us if we didn’t make them.

And here’s the irony of the whole thing: Presidential candidates are not just like the rest of us.  Quite frankly, we should be grateful for that.  (The West Wing aptly addressed this issue in its third season.)  The President of the United States is still, arguably, the most powerful person in the world.  This is a person who can veto acts of Congress, and wage war for 60 days without congressional consent, and sign bills into law.  This is a big, damn deal.  I don’t want to hand those reins over to just anyone.  The bar for this job should be set far higher than the litmus test that unfortunately emerged out of the Bush/Gore election in 2000: “Would I want to have a beer with this person?”

Somehow, though, we always manage to distill things down to these asinine measures of relatability.  And this is how we end up with Hilary Clinton taking a shot of Crown Royal in 2008, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden attending a NASCAR race in 2011, and Mit Romney liking grits in 2012.  We force them to work for their street cred, and stunts like these are the price they pay.  But why do we do this?  Why do we ask politicians to posture and pander this way?  We ought to find it patronizing.

The net net of it is that we care that our elected officials understand our lives.  For how can we reliably expect them to represent us as governors if they know nothing of who we are – our passions, tastes, and challenges?  And I think this is a valid stance to take, although I disagree with the way we have chosen to take it.  We have chosen to evaluate a candidate’s ability to understand his constituents in part based on his ability to participate in local traditions, and I’m not sure how accurate a barometer that is for what we’re actually trying to measure.  Just because Mit Romney tries and likes grits doesn’t mean that he has any meaninful understanding of what life is like for middle class Southerners.  Just because Newt Gingrich can crack a joke about gun racks doesn’t mean that truly cares about cultures that value hunting.  These are two men who, respectively, are worth an estimated $250 million, and have had the power in their hands to shut down the federal government.  Any semblance of a life that most Americans would consider “normal” is nothing but a speck in these men’s rearview mirrors.  At some level we know that, which is why we make them attend pancake suppers and drink PBR.

This isn’t to say that I think retail politics are all a bunch of hooey.  Sitting down and having substantive conversations with individuals from various walks of life can be a valuable way to understand the needs of different demographic segments.  There’s nothing wrong with putting a face on a statistic.  It’s just that we take it too far.  The fact remains that to presidential candidates most of us will always be statistics – and that’s okay!  I can’t reasonably expect any U.S. President to know me personally.  But what I can reasonably expect is that he understands how his decisions will likely impact me (and every other demographic segment) and bear that in mind while leading our country.

When you get right down to it, I don’t care whether Mit Romney likes grits.  Or arugala.  Or red wine.  Or macaroni and cheese.  He can eat grits morning, noon, and night and it doesn’t mean that his decisions as President will benefit Southerners.  I care that he cares about the people he may some day represent.  And it’s too bad that we can’t come up with a better way to determine if he – or anybody else, for that matter - does.

I Wish I Were Asleep

Monday, March 12th, 2012

As I begin typing this post it is 9:15 on Sunday night.  And if I’m being really truthful, I’d rather be turning out the lights.  Alas, I have made a commitment to post here and so I will stay up and blog.  I make this choice in part because I don’t like flaking out on blogging, and in part because my ambivalence about writing right now is opportune because I’d rather be sleeping, and the topic I’ve chosen to explore is sleep.

Sleep has been on my mind a lot lately – largely because I’m not getting enough of it.  By the time I went back to work after my first pregnancy IEP had dropped back to one overnight feeding.  He was a quick eater and I was typically only out of bed for 15 or 20 minutes and the whole thing was quite manageable.  SSP, on the other hand, is still waking up twice each night.  Like his brother he makes quick work of it and goes back down easily.  Nevertheless, there is something about getting up twice that feels more than doubly disruptive to my rest.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that last week was National Sleep Awareness Week and the interwebs were crawling with articles pounding my tired conscience about the importance of sleep.  And on top of that, we sprang forward yesterday, robbing me even more of my rest.  (Thank you, Huffington Post, for rubbing salt in the wound.)

So here I sit, wishing I were asleep, but yet with my eyes fixed on a glowing screen perched on my lap.  And I’m not the only one plugged into something other than my pillow   Computer – and countless other similar gadgets – are slapped with much of the blame for our overall reduction in sleep.  In prior articles I’ve read about sleep I’ve learned that in pre-electricity eras only true insomniacs were sleep deprived.  With electric lights to extend our waking hours, televisions to keep us company in the evening, and smartphones buzzing next to our heads all night long (for the record, my BlackBerry does not sleep on my nightstand) it really shouldn’t surprise any of us that sleep is seen as such a valuable (and hard to come by) commodity these days.

Here, though, is my beef with modern sleep deprivation: isn’t it largely within our control?  Can we not choose to adhere to a bedtime (as Gretchen Rubin suggests)?  Can we not opt to avoid rich and heavy meals late at night that keep our bodies from settling down?  Can we not really walk away from Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest even 30 minutes earlier each night?  I recognize that there are people for whom sleep deprivation is not just the byproduct of silly choices.  For some people – for those who work multiple jobs, or work night shifts, or travel extensively, or have children with sleep problems – sleep deprivation is a harder problem to solve.  But for most of us – myself included – a groggy morning is something we could have prevented with better decisions the night before.  And this matters, because for many people there are more serious health consequences on the line than just a groggy morning.

It is now 9:40.  I need to let the dogs out, move some laundry to the dryer, and get into my pajamas.  If I want the lights out by 10:00 I know that this post needs to draw to a close quickly.  Ten o’clock is later than I like to get to sleep, but per my own inadequacies it’s par for the course around here.  I’d do well to take my own advice – particularly until SSP starts sleeping through the night.

Flights of Fancy

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I’ve been daydreaming lately.

My current daydream is about my dream house; specifically, building my dream house.  I’ve sketched floorplans and considered traffic flow.  I’ve envisioned the roofline, brick, and trim.  I’ve thought about color palettes and storage space.  I’ve been thinking it through in bits and pieces for the past month or so and I’ve pretty well got the whole thing mapped out in my head.  It’s not an enormous house, but it fits our needs precisely.  The figuring-out process has been fun.

As I was telling a friend about this the other day she was, I think, a bit surprised at how detailed all of this imagining has gotten.  She said to me, choosing her words quite carefully so as not to sound pejorative, “You’re sort of prone to flights of fancy, aren’t you?”  I thought about it and told her that I supposed she was right.  I’ve spent time dreaming out the details of more than one small business idea.  I’ve outlined ideas for books.  I’ve run mental simulations of what I would do if I ever won the lottery (which, as I understand it, would require actually playing the lottery – so I assume my chances here are pretty slim…).  I’ve envisioned a time when horses will be a part of my life again.  And now I’m mapping out – in surprising detail – my hopefully-someday-future house.

“Yes,” I said to my friend, “it’s a fantasy.  Hopefully not an unrealistic fantasy.  But it’s not anything we’re doing right now.  Nevertheless, it’s still fun to have a mental project.”

That’s how I think of it: as a mental project.  And I think that mental projects are good for a couple of reasons.  For starters, they are fun.  I’ve read one after another statistic that says making future plans is an effective way to boost your mood, improve your outlook, and increase your overall happiness.  Granted, most times I’ve read this statistic the implied nature of the future plans were more along the lines of making a date to see a movie with a girlfriend, but I contend that the benefits hold true for longer ranging and more abstract planning.  Further, big plans like these help us to identify our goals.  By exploring these flights of fancy we get to try on future versions of ourselves and our lives.  We get to think about what we would like to become.  And we are better positioned to recognize and take advantage of the right opportunities when they present themselves.  When such opportunities come along we know what we want to do with them.

Sure there are pitfalls to all of this daydreaming.  We have to be careful that we’re not so busy imagining some future incarnation of our lives that we forget to get out and live the lives we have today.  But as long as our fantasies don’t supplant our realities, I think our time spent dreaming is usually a good thing.

And with that, I need to decide if I prefer louvered or paneled shutters.

PS – Sorry this post is a day late.  SSP has decided that two overnight feedings are more fun than one.  So I’m a little tired lately.  I’m afraid this is going to be a two-post week.  I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully with a nap or two under my belt!

Missing the Anticipation

Monday, March 5th, 2012

If you know me at all in real life, you know I’m a fan of Tivo.  (Or, more accurately in my case, DVR.  But as far as I’m concerned “Tivo” is to digitally recorded video as “Kleenex” is to facial tissue… But I digress.)  GAP was the one pushing it when we climbed aboard the Tivo bandwagon several years ago.  But today I am the bigger evangelist.  I love the thing.

Perhaps this has quite a bit to do with life as a parent of young children.  I’ve heard my parents say many times that they have no idea what pop culture was doing in the ’80s because they were busy raising children.  I suspect that the same lot would have befallen me were it not for the magic of Tivo.  (Because really, who has time to set a VCR to record anything that isn’t earth shatteringly important?)  It is because of the magic “record” button on our remote that I am even slightly up to speed on current television shows.  Nevertheless, I am about to bite the hand that feeds me.

I miss the anticipation of watching shows in real time.

I remember in college how we all looked forward to congregating in dormitory and frat house rooms to watch Friends after dinner.  I remember one sorority sister who amazed her suite-mates because she was able to shower within the time span of a commercial break.  (Remember commercials?)  I recall that in my early twenties I made sure to leave Wednesday nights open so that I could watch The West Wing as it aired, and phone GAP (we did the long distance thing for a couple of years) as soon as it ended to rehash it.  The only show that I’ve watched in real time since we got Tivo was LOST and that was only because the suspense from week to week was completely unbearable (and because it conveniently started well after IEP’s bedtime).

I started thinking about all this because it occurred to me the other day that I don’t even know which days of the week some of my favorite shows air.  I think How I Met Your Mother is still on Mondays.  But The Big Bang Theory may have been moved.  Thursdays, perhaps?  And my favorite show of the moment, New Girl (“… really any type of chut-en-y“)?  I have no idea when it’s on.  That didn’t use to be the case.  Even today, 25-ish years later I can tell you that The Wonder Years aired on Tuesdays and The Cosby Show aired on Thursdays.

I miss getting excited about a new episode of a favorite show.  I miss looking forward to it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love that I can sit down on nearly any evening and at least one of the shows I like is magically waiting for me to watch in my own time.  Because honestly, were that not the case, I’d miss most of it.  Still, though, there’s something a little isolating about it.

When everyone can watch a show at their own convenience almost no one watches it in real time.  (Sports are the obvious exception here.)  And when no one watches it in real time that collective, water-cooler moment the next day is substantially diluted.

None of this is breaking news.  But sometimes I notice little cultural phenomena and feel compelled to comment.  I have fond memories of looking forward to some of my past favorite shows each week.  A working mother of two young kids doesn’t really have the bandwidth to set her clock by the TV Guide anyway.  But I still miss the subtle excitement of the bygone time when I could.