Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Good enough for government work"

This is a phrase I picked up from one of my parents. My dad, I think; basically, it means that someone is doing (barely) enough to get paid, but isn't really worth keeping around.

We saw this at the zoo today. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and almost-three-year-old nephew are visiting from the Small Country of Big Disputes, and we took them to the Bronx Zoo. (Whenever we see them, one of the families is on vacation, so therefore everyone winds up spending more money, eating out more, and sleeping less than they would under normal circumstances.)

At the zoo, we entered through the gate with the smallest parking lot--the Fordham gate, for any locals. As we drove up, we handed over our Members Parking Pass. The zoo employee took it, asked if we wanted a map, and then fetched two for us. We then went on our merry way.

Only belatedly, once we were past it, did we realize that this particular parking entrance was also the admissions gate, unlike other avenues into the zoo where the two functions are separate. We have a family membership, so Taxman and I have unlimited entrance, plus the kids and one guest, so we should have had to pay for one adult. But the zoo guy had no idea, because he did not ask to see our card. One adult could have been the member and the rest of us on the hook to pay. (That would have represented a loss of $45 for the Wildlife Conservation Society.) Even moreso, the membership agreement states explicitly that you are expected to show photo ID with your card; the membership privileges are not transferable. All of this is understandable. The zoo is a popular attraction, but it must be expensive to run, plus the WCS supports all kinds of research and conservation in the wild (ostensibly).

So I was feeling a little guilty about cheating the WCS out of $12. But at the same time...should the onus be completely on us to make sure it collects its fees? Why are they paying this guy? His performance is good enough for government work!

Unfortunately, if I turn the finger of scrutiny on myself, this is how I've been puttering along lately. Mothering my toddler? Good enough to be a government employee. (Or a zoo employee, apparently, despite the fact that I never got past a first interview at the WCS years ago.) At the end of the day, she's fed, usually bathed, and still alive. But in between there's So.Much.Testing.

Miss M seems to be at the zenith of pushing limits and bad behavior. We have no idea, of course, if this is due to the new addition or just the age and inability to hash out her feelings and problems in words. More the latter, I'd bet, but with AM I just don't have the wherewithal to deal with her very well. I used to do a lot of physical interventions; moving her from room to room, or turning on the radio, swooping her up in my arms, and dancing with her to distract her from whatever trouble she was brewing. But now...

I just feel so cross with her. Endlessly exasperated. All the time.

But at least I am not alone. After a whole weekend with her being like this, Taxman lost it, too. After a rough time getting her into her pajamas without being injured (hitting, kicking, and a bite), he swiftly gathered her up and ushered her to bed, intimating that there would be no nursing and I would not be the last person she saw before bed. I did make my appearance, but only after a lecture from him and a lecture from me and some pathetic whimpering on her part.

We're definitely fumbling in the dark here, not knowing how to approach her behavior. She doesn't seem to be making the connections between cause and effect, so the loss of privileges is useless. Maybe someday...

Just feeling kind of incompetent these days. At least life with AM is mostly perfect. Except for his Pacifier Lust, but that is a whole other post.

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