Saturday, December 31, 2011

unresolved

Well here I am, writing my last blog of the year.  It has in part flown, in part crawled by.  It might be safe to say that in flying and crawling forms, this year has kicked my ass.  Drop-kicked, wrestled, body-slammed me to the ground, in fact.  And yet, here I sit at the end of it, intact, on my feet, and feeling pretty hopeful about what this new year will bring.

I don't believe in making resolutions.  It seems like these are things meant to constrain rather than to enhance our lives in general.  So I think this year, I will blow on the proverbial dandelion, and begin the year sending out wishes into the great unknown of this new year.

So - be it unresolved that I:

1.    wish to learn how to be kinder and gentler with myself.
2.    wish for the strength to listen to my convictions.
3.    wish for strength and clarity to help my kiddos deal with all the changes taking place.
4.    wish to make more time to spend with friends and loved ones.
5.    wish to remember how important it is to slow myself down. 
6.    wish to be more careful with my heart, while maintaining an openness to love and friendship.
7.    wish to worry less about pleasing others, and about what others think of me.
8.    wish to be brave enough to take risks, even when they are shit-scary.
9.    wish for more time to think and to write and to be creative.
10.  wish to maintain a steady commitment to my own health and happiness.

***And I wish health, hope, happiness and love to us all in the coming year.***

And to 2012 - I say: Bring It!  (I'm ready for you.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The forest for the trees

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. Today I ponder foresight. Our family is currently undergoing some pretty massive changes, which though hard on all of us, weigh particularly on the smalls. Boy-o especially.

And tonight, after a particularly challenging evening of parenting, and struggling to maintain an even-keeled-steady-eye-to-a-kinder-gentler-distant-future, I am left wrestling with the course my own life trajectory takes the kidlets on.

Guilt in this particular wrestling match is inevitable. But if I force myself to move beyond getting stuck in that knee-jerk, a too familiar place of ' bad mother,' I'm also left with the question: 'what do my kids stand to gain from this process? And though escaping that stuck in guilt position is tough (and boy, let me tell you, I've had loads if external, um, support for that particular position of late), I do find myself occasionally catching some glimmers of positive long-term teachables too.

I live by my heart. Always have. Always will. (You can love that about me or hate that about me - it just... is). It leads me (oftentimes) places my rational self tells me are too risky. Its 1000 times braver than my brain. And it has yet to fail me. Its not that I don't get hurt - I do, Frequently, even. Embarrased. Downright squished sometimes. But rarely have I really regretted a decision that I've made based on feeling and intuition (my two favourite epistemologies). Even the ones that resulted in painful consequences. Because to me, those leaps of faith, that stubborn belief in taking risks based on heart-knowing, are the really important stuff of being alive. (Yup - I'm one of those leapers ;).

I guess what I hope the most is that maybe some of this will rub off on the kiddos. I hope they will grow up with the faith that their instincts and their hearts will take them where they need to go.

And maybe, just maybe, at some point in the future, this big, uncomfortable, scary, wild mess of life changes will be part of the catalyst for just that very thing.

Maybe. Though no one ever really says foresight is 20/20...





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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Airport woes

We're at the airport, Boy-o, Girlio and I. It's 7:16 a.m. And we've been here since 5:40, just under the wire for catching our 6:30 am flight. Apparently, this flight was not meant to be. The airport is a madhouse. People are sitting on top of people. Lineups are out the doors. And there is nowhere near enough staff checking people in. We finally make it to the kiosk (a three tantrum line, thanks to Girlio being up since 4 am), I am informed that we will make our flight but our luggage will not. (Who needs carseats anyways?). Through the course of the transaction, we are then told we won't make the flight either, because though we are already checked it, the line at security is simply too long for us to make it. She then books us on a 7 flight and gives us those tickets. Two minutes later, she tells us we won't make that one, either. We are now booked for the 8:30 am flight, with an extra connection. I have to pay them extra money for this luxury. We get the bags checked, schlep the carseats and find our way to security. Which has a special family line. With zero line-up. We get through security in under five minutes. We woulda made the first flight, with time to spare. Mmmmmhmmmmmm.


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Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone.

I hope that no matter where, and in what circumstances, this day found you, that you were able to find some love and little magic too.

mama T

Friday, December 23, 2011

horoscoping

Ever wonder what the hell your horoscope is talking about?  I frequently do.  But lately, they have been BANG on.  Weirdly so, even.


Todays' for instance, reads:
Things may be happening all around you today. You could feel like a spectator watching a foreign theatre production. Don't sit this one out in the audience. In fact, your energy is needed on center stage. Balance out the crazy drama with a bit of your solid, powerful rationality.
Now, it's only 9 a.m., and I can already see that much of this is right on the money, as they say. ( And except for the part about my solid rationality, which I should point out, I am not known for.  So bang-ish on, I guess!)  


So - drama combined with my tendency toward emotionality it is, then.   


Okay world - bring on the foreign theatre (and if you wouldn't mind - make it entertaining!)



Thursday, December 22, 2011

a non-MILF read, as promised ;)

Check out this huff post story about a young trans kid who is causing big waves in the Girl Guides, just because she wants to be a part of a troop...

Got MILF?

I am posting an interesting article here, that Tristan Taormino wrote for the Village Voice in 2007 about the MILF phenomenon.  Taormino takes an interesting tack with the piece, asking why 'daddy' is a popularly assumed sexual role, and yet 'mommy' is not.  (Nope, not talking about incest role-play here, as is explained in the article.)   Anyhow - for those at all interested in my thesis-fodder about the rise of MILF-dom, give the piece a read :)   For those not at all interested in said fodder, I'm posting another unrelated article right after this!

p.s.  MILF porn names are hilarious!  "I Scored a Soccer Mom 2!"  Love. It.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What makes a milf?

Okay.  So lately, I've been thinking of the whole business of MILF-dom.    Yes, it's kinda research related - but more personally, I've been thinking about the project of making babies (or more properly having made babies) impacts upon how we are seen (and more often not seen) as sexual beings in the world.  For those who don't know - MILF stands for Mother I'd Like to Fuck,  see further definitions below from Wiki and Urban Dictionary.  (I find the Urban Dictionary definition especially, well, special).    MILF is kind of a funny cultural label precisely because moms are supposed to be so not sexy.  (What?  Walking around in an oversized housecoat covered in baby barf isn't super-hawt?!).  But this juxtaposed with a the rather large and continually growing MILF genre of porn makes things a little hazier.  Moms aren't sexy.  However, fucking 'moms'* is taboo, and thus somehow hot.  It's all very interesting.  So for the next little while, I'm going to be posting MILF stuff, just for a change of pace :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MILF_pornography


http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=milf

* I would like to use the term 'moms' loosely in the porn context, bc though some of them are likely moms, many others are just 'older' - which is to say, not pretending to be a teen - women who work in the adult entertainment industry.








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Monday, December 19, 2011

The Choose Love Project

I love when I (or friends) stumble upon great little homespun projects that take on lives of their own and grow into something even bigger.  The Choose Love Project is one great example.


The project was spearheaded by Lori Race and Rachel Cole, with the intent to inspire women to believe that feeling better about our bodies, and treating our bodies with the love and respect they deserve, is a choice.   This many seem obvious on the surface: Um, yeah, sure, of course it's a choice!  But let's face it.  It's a choice we women, ladies, girls and grrrls fail to make for ourselves.    Race and Cole's project features letters from women to their younger selves, which are immensely captivating and infinitely (and often painfully) relatable.  


Go see for yourself.  And maybe get inspired to write your own younger self a well-deserved love letter.

On those days

On those days when you feel engulfed, sitting in your house, that damn house that you can't keep clean or even orderly; thinking about failures of one kind or another, of marriages, of breakages, of shaky moments of self-control, those stupid words that tumble from your mouth (too often), of those things that fall out of your slippery, clumsy hands and shatter...

On those days, it might be important to watch the painted messy faces of your children, pajamaed and happy and healthy in that same mess of your home and your life.

On those days it might be important to notice that they do not notice those messes, because they are small and forgiving and full of love.

On those days, you might do well to remind yourself of those people who love you, flawed.  Of those who may love you yet.  Those who will thankfully refuse to fall prey to the impulse to treat you as though you are broken, because of course you are not (and have never been).

On those days, some moments of self-kindness might be useful, too.





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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday Night Fever

Yesterday, one of the super sucky realities of parenting arose.  Single parenting, which I'm going to be doing half-time from here on in (Yes - this is my way of saying I am separated now.  Yes, this is what I've been so cryptic about of late.  No, I probably won't be talking about it other than this for awhile.), in particular.

I have, all week, been looking forward to sharing a special early Christmas celebration with my tots, my BFF and her family.  We haven't seen lots of each other lately, and I miss her loads.  You know how life gets.

And then, a mere hour before we are supposed to arrive at my friend's house, my Girlio starts acting weird. Weird, weird.  Asking to go to bed kinda weird.  Can anyone guess the problem???  If you guessed FEVER, you get a resounding ding-ding-ding-ding!  Yup.  Sick.  Groaning, whimpering, crying, all-of-the-sudden-no-I-don't-want-a-party-I-want-to-go-to-bed kinda sick.  And when one of my kids asks to go to bed, you know it's bad.  I did not raise me some sleepers.

So - no party.  No BFF.  No Friday night fun for me.  And because my BFF and I have chosen to leave town for the holidays on opposite schedules, we won't see each other for a whole other month.  (Insert enormous pouty face here.)

It's selfish, I know, to bemoan one's lack of fun when one has a sick kid.  But there it is.  I am selfishly bemoaning my lack of Friday night fun.  Because I'm no super mom.

And because I am profoundly, profoundly human.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Repost from this time last year, and the year before that too: Why I Support the Santa Story

A whole lotta parents with young kids seem to be hatin' on Santa these days.  There are various veins of thought around this, 

1. Teaching kids about Santa is a lie and lying is always bad/truth is always good, etc.,  

2.  Teaching kids about Santa encourages rampant commercialism and doesn't reflect the 'true meaning' of Christmas, or,

3.  The Santa story conflicts with the Little Baby Jesus story (henceforth referred to as LBJ for brevity).  

I have some opinions about the aforementioned business of being down on old Santa.

Kids will, all too soon, be confronted with all kinds of shitty, shitty 'truthes' this world has to offer them.   Far too soon, in my not-so-humble opinion.   I'm not in any rush to invite that kind of shit in.   Moreover, I don't actually agree that lying is always wrong.  The ins and out of truthing and lying is mostly about grey area and very little about black and white, so to speak.   Which brings me around to the fact that I don't actually see encouraging a belief in Santa as lying, at least not in a bad lying sorta way.   

I believe that Santa is about far more than presents.  Santa, his reindeer and elven pals, his work, his journey, his belief in the intrinsic goodness of children (which may or may not be true ;)), is about believing in magic, suspending disbelief, choosing possibility over impossibility.  (This may get me into hot water here) but I believe that our old Santa story isn't really all that different than our cultural LBJ stories (though I'm not even remotely Christian, a girl can still appreciate the good bits an LBJ story has to offer now and again).   

Both Santa stories and LBJ stories can be used to encourage the good in people, kindness, and love for one another.  Both Santa stories and LBJ stories encourage the belief in magic, and in possibility.   Both can be used to instill wonder and excitement about life.   And for me, that wonder and excitement about life is every bit the 'true' meaning of Christmas.  

(As an aside here, both Santa and LBJ stories can be used in sucky ways too.  I can't get behind using Santa to control kids' behaviour - in much the same way I can't get behind using LBJ for controlling people's behaviour.  I don't and won't ever tell the kids that Santa only comes to children "that are good."  For starters, I believe, (you know, usually, and so should Santa, dammit!) that all children are good.  And I think using the magic of Santa to punish kids is sucky.  To each their own, I suppose, but you're not going to catch me threatening that "Santa won't come" if the kids don't do x, y or z.)

I also don't think that Santa has to be about rampant commercialism.  Boy-o wrote a letter to Santa this year, and there was no long list of "I WANTS".  He asked for dress-up clothes for himself, and for Girlio, so they could play together.   I hope that in part, this is because I'm trying very hard to create a family culture that runs contrary to that kind of me-me-me-ness.  This is something I make every effort to continue emphasizing throughout our kids' lives.    

So all you Santa-haters - say what you will.  And do what you will.  I support you in that.  But I'm going to choose MAGIC.  I'm going to help my kids believe in that magic.  I'm going to feel as excited and as giddy and as giggly as they do, heading downstairs on Christmas morning (even thoughlike most mornings around my house, it's likely going to come far too early), finding the note from Santa, and the dress-up clothes they asked so sweetly for and likely a few surprises they didn't ask for.  

And if I'm really lucky, I'll get to tap back into that amazing (and too short) time in my life, when I too wholeheartedly believed in magic.  That time was nothing short of a gift. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another useless bits of me list

1.  I love, love, love lists.  All kinds of lists.  I'm totally list-y.  I could make lists about the reasons I love making lists.  For real.
2.  I apparently like to talk about myself.   A fair bit, and wonder sometimes if this makes me a narcissist.
3.  I have an addiction to dress and shoe porn.  No.  Not porn which kink-ily involves dresses and shoes.  Window shopping for shoes and dresses online.  Someday, I'll have an income and upgrade to an actual dress and shoe shopping addiction.  For now,  just porn.  (After a particularly stressful day, I like to look at pretty things and imagine them on me, thus pretty-fying me.   Narcissism??)
4.  I wish someone would pay me to write.  Like, write all of the time.  Get better at writing.  (Any wealthy benefactors out there?  I've been told I'm reasonably cute...)
5.  I've been buying myself flowers lately.  It makes me quite happy.
6.  I like to make up words.  You already know this about me, probably, if you've been reading along from time to time.
7.  I don't actually think I'm very funny, but people laugh at stuff I say all of the time.  This could have multiple meanings, I fear.
8.  I want to feed my doctor many, many cookies.  She is far too thin.  She thinks I am far too fat.  She would like to take away my cookies, one surmises.
9.  I'm fiercely loyal.  You should want to get on my good side, if only for that reason.
10.  I miss the ocean.  Atlantic-side, not Pacific side.
11.  I can't stand being late.  I'm not too overly fond of other people being late, either.
12.  My new self-appointed life-task is living in the moment more.  I find this really fucking hard.
13.  I spend a phenomenal amount of time agonizing about things that come out of my mouth.  Sometimes, my brain and mouth have difficulty connecting.  I think, sometimes too, that I should just become pen-pals with people.  Writing = better than speaking.
14.  I have been surprised by my own bravery lately.
15.  My new favourite singer is Chris Pureka.  Soulful, super-hot, butchy girl with guitar.  (Nuff said!?)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An unabashed love-letter to Boy-o, at 5

My dearest Boy-o,

Another whole year has passed since I last wrote to  you.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how you are five already.  Five!  I remember so well your dramatic entrance into this world (as if it could have been any other way!), our slow drive home from the hospital on that unbelievably warm Halifax December day, sun streaming into the windows onto your tiny, gorgeous face.

I remember, too, the startling sensation slowly washing over the entirety of me; you, this tiny little person, changed everything. You rocked my world and shifted my foundation and made me yours. Made me better.  Stronger.  Braver.  More capable.  Cracked my heart open and stretched it with your tiny, sure hands to fit right around you.

(It grows to fit around you still).

Each day, your growing and learning and open-heartedness amazes me, as does your unflagging energy. Your full-bodied kitchen dance moves, deep belly laughs, and total inability to tell a joke without starting with the punchline or busting a gut laughing in the middle never fails to invoke small moments of bliss.

Your capacity to love, full-out, hands open, no-holds-barred, and without reservation is beautiful and inspiring to witness. Your energy is alternatively fiery passion and quiet contemplation, without a lick of middle ground. (I cannot, for the life of me, figure out where you got this from... No peanut gallery comments here.). You are fierceness personified, my love, and though our intensities sometimes clash (and clash well!), I wouldn't have it any other way.

I have been, and continue to be, stunned and moved by the grace and bravery (and, I think, forgiveness,) with which you have handled the difficult life changes thrown your way in the past little while, cementing my belief that began at your birth, that you are a wise-beyond-your-years-old-soul.

To tell you that I love you would be such an inadequate way to describe what I feel.  So know this:  When I tell you I love you, what I mean is that I do not remember what life looked like before you were in it.  I did not know such intenseness of love and such fierce protectiveness, or such fear of loss was possible before you came into my world.   When I tell you that I love you, what I mean is that even after the hardest, most exhausting of parenting days, those days when we drive each other absolutely nuts, when I look at your sweetly sleeping face, I am overcome with such a visceral sense of how ridiculously lucky I am to be a part of your life; how you carry the very best parts of me; how really, we are growing up together.  When I tell you that I love you, what I mean is that this love thing I have for you sustains me and breaks me and rebuilds me and soothes me, all at once.  What I mean is that I am wildly, intensely, irrevocably yours.

I am so very grateful to know you, and to have your love and trust, Boy-o.

Happy fifth birthday, little love.

Yours always,

Mama


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

standardized testing. it sucks.

About a month ago, I was commandeered by our local news media station to talk about what I thought about standardized testing in schools.  Because it was off-the-cuff - they pounced on me outside of Boy-o's school, post-drop-off, with a sleeping Girlio on my shoulder - I was, erm, less than eloquent.  I pretty much stammered my way through a windier choppier version of: 'they suck.'

Now, there are all kinds of good, good reasons why this is so.  Children learn different things, at different paces, in different ways.  Children respond differently to the pressures of testing and examinations.  Standardized examinations leave no room for the kinds of life-based contextualized learning that matters the most.  And because the 'success' rates (and in the U.S., the funding!) of schools are in large part measured by standardized testing scores, there is immense pressure on administrators and teachers to spend scads of time preparing students to do the kinds of rote memorization that standardized testing requires.  Which means far less time spent on developing a broader, more balanced way of looking at particular students' abilities to excel and achieve scholastically.  So, yeah - like I said before: 'They suck.'  I'd like to see them done away with.  Permanently.

Recently, an excellent piece was written in the Washington Post about a school administrator that took, and did abysmally on their own standardized test.

'Nuff said.

Beautiful story about a family with a trans child...

If you are feeling in need of a feel good read, head over here and read the journey of a Boston family and their journey with gender.  I'm not gonna lie.  It made me good cry.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2011/12/11/led-child-who-simply-knew/SsH1U9Pn9JKArTiumZdxaL/story.html

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sissy Boys

Christie Blatchford, a National Post columnist with ideas that might accurately be described as belonging to, well, yesteryear, has hit another home run with her most recent piece, decrying the horrors of waning masculinity.  Among other egregious crimes to manhood: Gasp!  Men hug!  It's all just too much!  There aren't a shortage of people challenging Blactchford's viewpoint, so I won't bore you with regurgitating all of their arguments.  I will, however, post one really wonderful response to Blatchford by blogger Jeff Perera.  It's a fantastic look at the difficulties of living under the pretty limiting confines of our cultural construction(s) of masculinity.

And it's really, really good.  Sorta makes a girl feel more hopeful about the world, and all that nice stuff...  

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A week in music, Post #7 - my top 5 list of non-insufferable Christmas tunes

I have a dirty little secret.  Well, okay, I probably have several.  But the one I'm actually going to tell you about is that I'm not so much a fan of the Christmas-ness.  Yes.  It's true.  I'm a bit of a scrooge.  Don't get me wrong.  I love the family time.  I love the kids' excitement.  The tree decorating is fun - because - I do enjoy making things pretty.  BUT - for the most part, I find the forced niceness and energy of Christmas to be a bit of a drag.  And the music.  The music.  It's terrible.  I'm sorry, but most Christmas music makes me want to gouge out my ears.  So - here's my scrooge-y top five reasonably good Christmas playlist :) Happy listening...


Meiko - Maybe Next Year.  A hot Christmas song.  For real.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwdBFVF0jf4&feature=related

Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson - Winter Song.  Sweet Christmas melancholic lovelorn-ness.  Right up my alley.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7B9PrfNkAM&feature=related

KT Tunstall - Sleigh Ride.  Okay - more traditional than I can usually stomach.  But it's a kinda cool take on it, and it's my little people's favourite Christmas kitchen dance song.  We play it a LOT.  So it's gotta make the cut.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlRy0WwYgyk&feature=related

Lenka - All My Bells Are Ringing.  Cute.  Swingy.  Poppy.  Kinda fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCajbryflIE&feature=related

(These four are all from The Hotel Cafe Presents: Winter Songs)

Meaghan Smith - It Snowed!   The ultimate snow-day song.  (Not that we get any here in Edmonton).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eg8MBpX9Nh0&feature=related

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Get your kleenex out. FOR REAL! Jennifer Carr: on supporting her trans child

The Naked Truth?

So, I was, as I am apt to do now and again, perusing the Offbeat Mama site the other day.  And I stumbled upon a wee blurb asking parents about how they deal with nudity around their kids.  And it made me think about how our family's queerness adds another layer to the whole to bare or not to bare issue.

Now, let's be clear from the outset.  I'm lean more towards being a 'to bare' kind of mama.  Not a nudist (naturist?) by any stretch of the imagination, but a more utilitarian sort of disrober.  I walk naked to the shower or to the basement to find clean laundry when the need arises.  I shower with the kids from time to time because that way I get to shower without worrying about the mayhem taking place outside of shower land.  In short, I don't drop trou as soon as I get home from the outside world, but it's not big whoop for the kidlets to see me in the buff.   It's led to some interesting discussions, arising from the odd nipple grab or similar occurrences - but these things I think are largely positive, because we can hammer home the issue that 1. everyone gets to say what happens to their own bodies, and 2. nudity does not equal a free-for-all.  I also think that setting a body-shame free example is the best possible way to encourage those values in our small-fry.   Moreover, nudity can sometimes allow for happier tots.  For example, I find that on those really awful tired days, hopping in the bath with small fry eager to play 'hair-dresser' and letting them shampoo, condition, dump water over my head and back comb to their hearts content can allow for up to 45 minutes of shut eye.  I kid you not.  I did it this very morning, after yet another crap night of 4-ish hours of sleep.  (And I actually nodded off, while having said 'quality time'.  Can't do that with your clothes on ;).  And post-bath, Boy-o has been playing in the buff for a good two hours.  Happily.  And Girlio's favourite daily tradition is streaking through the house post-evening bath shouting 'STREAKER'!!!  Beyond cute.  Much happiness.  And, I think it goes without saying that I have and will continue to teach them that skinny dipping is the best way to swim in a lake... :)

Now, of course, we aren't beyond setting nudity boundaries.  Boundaries are good.  Important, even.  No nudity in public (generally speaking), no nudity if it makes folks feel weird, the kids can't just through off the shackles of clothing in the local grocery store.   But overall - I don't care if the kids are naked, or if, in the right contexts, they see me naked.  Bodies are good.  Bodies aren't shameful, blah blah and all that jazz.
That's just how we roll. (You know, right now, when the kids are 2 and 4).  Of course there are times and will continue to be times when the kids will develop their own issues around nudity and their absolute right to privacy (a concept we've also tried very hard to instill), and times when we parentals draw lines around our own privacy.  All important things.

But, of course, not everyone feels this way.  Lots of people see bodies (all bodies) as sexual, private, etc.  To each their own, I guess.  But I think our families queerness adds a whole other dimension to the issue of parental (and probably kid) nudity.  Many folks would argue that it's damaging for kids to see parental nudity, and I would surmise that many more still would argue that it's problematic that our Boy-o sees only female nudity (other than his own, naturally), and that this will screw up his growing sense of himself as male, his sexuality, etc. etc.  Now - I think this is a load of poppycock, but it's certainly an ideas that's floating around out there.

And then there's the whole nakedness = sex and queers = oversexed.  In this context, my tots seeing my naked body becomes less about being comfortable in my own skin and more about having, well, perverse skin.  Think this is a an attitude of bygone eras?  Not so!  I have friends who, as recently as two years ago, were forced to write an extra addendum to their adoption application about their policy on parental nudity.  Straight couples are not required to write this addendum.  Queer couples are.  Barf-O-rama.

Anyhow.  I guess that's my take on nudity in the household.  Like the folks at Offbeat Mama, I am curious to know how other people deal with this sort of thing around their households...

week in music, day # 4 - Ane Brun "Song No. 6 (Featuring Ron Sexsmith)"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weathering the highs and lows

Early Morning Lows:
Being told by Boy-o that I am the meanest person ever. That he hates me, will never love me, live with me, or talk to me on the telephone. Ever. Again.

Later Morning Highs: Dancing wildly to Christmas tunes. Watching the smalls rock my high heels 'to the ball'. Baking and eating ginger cookies. Shadow dancing in sunbeams on the wall. Decorating our front yard 'magic tree' with glittery ornaments in the freezing cold wind. Watching the magic tree glitter and shine in the sun and wind as we eat lunch. Hasty 'I love you's as Boy-o runs off to the bus for school.

Not a bad recovery, really. And yet somehow - it's those early morning lows that manage to stay in your head, lurking and feeding all that self-doubt...


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A week in Music, post #3 Ingrid Michaelson Covering Radiohead's Creep

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dec 6, 1989 - Remembering

Today is December 6th.   Twenty-two years ago today, an armed man walked into Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, calmly and systematically separated women from men, and then proceeded to gun down 14 women and wound many others, articulating consistently his hatred of women, and of feminists in particular.

This day is and will forever remain permanently imprinted upon my memory.

I remember where I was that day, where I was sitting, how the material of the couch felt scratchy and rough underneath my hands.

I remember watching the news coverage and being just rooted to the spot, unable to move and aware of every breathe.

I remember the tenor of my newly divorced father's voice muttering behind me that "those feminists are going to have a field-day with this."   I remember not knowing exactly what those words meant, but knowing somehow that those words were angry at women, too.  

I can remember my mother calling from her new house in the city to see if I was okay.  I can remember saying yes, because I didn't know what else to say. 

I can remember the cold shock that engulfed my 14 year old self - reeling in the face of the reality that girls could be hated, could be shot, could be killed in their schools . . . for being girls.

I can also remember the subsequent media coverage, with experts left, right and centre explaining away the horrible, terrifying actions of Marc Lepine as the work of a 'crazy person,' and as an 'isolated incident,' as if those terms could make it okay to pretend that Lepine's actions were not intrinsically linked to the larger entrenched problem of violence against women in our country, and in our culture. 

The events of December 6, 1989 are still heartbreakingly and bone-chillingly relevant.  They are still connected to the larger, deep rooted problem of violence against women in general.  They are connected to every person who says 'it's none of my business' when they hear a domestic assault taking place; connected to the need to have a sexual assault campaign in this city letting men know that women who are extremely inebriated or passed out cold aren't able to consent to sex; connected to the rotten, crap assed reality that women are still blamed for their own abuse and assaults (shouldn't have been drinking, shouldn't have been out at night, shouldn't have been wearing those sexy sweatpants, shouldn't stay with him and on and on and on and on ad nauseum.)

The Montreal Massacre was neither random nor isolated.  The continued violence against women in our country, in our provinces, in our cities, in our homes is not random, nor isolated.  They are, each and every one of them, linked to our larger cultural acquiescence to, and acceptance of, misogyny.

I know that when my own Girlio is 14, I will remember still.

I hope against hope that I might be able to tell her, then, how much has changed since that awful day in 1989.

A week in music, post #2 - Brandi Carlile - The Story

Friday, December 2, 2011

Parenting fashion rules

Rule # 1. When you are wearing an exceptionally cute outfit (as I am am or rather, was, today) - milk, barf or snot (or some combination therein) will end up all over it.

Rule # 2. When you look like shit, 5 truckloads of hot firefighters will show up at your door.

What's a girl to do?


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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Repost: Making Myself Into a Mother (from Dec, 2009)

To say that there is nothing than can prepare you for the shock of becoming a parent is putting it mildly.  What a shock it is.  You can read all of the books you want, make charts and diagrams for this, that and the other thing, you can research everything from birth to potty training until the cows come home.   But I've discovered that, for me at least, parenting is not so much in these details, in the preparedness or in the doing, but rather it is a crash-course in the feeling.   You can know that skydiving is a scary endeavour, but you can't know what that scary feels like until your ass is plummeting through the sky.  

Becoming a parent is like cutting off your limbs and trying to grow them again, in a weird way that makes them only half yours.  Or razing a house to the ground and rebuilding with new materials, like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, only the end result is much less grandiose.  It is simultaneously elating and depressing; joy and wonder at the new beings we've had a hand in creating, and sadness, even resentment at the seepage of our own selves, the hazing and blurring of our identity as individuals.  

As a bit of an aside, I think it's crazy that we treat post-partum depression like it's an anomaly, something purely hormonal, something that people can/should just "get over".  I think that in the face of the magnitude of changes to our physical and emotional selves and the incredible disruption to our lives,  experiencing various forms and severities of depression and/or anxieties post partum, though undoubtably unpleasant, makes a whole world of sense.   But I digress.        

My life, previously attuned to my own well-being and best interests, is no longer my own.   My time, previously devoted to my own projects and needs, has become someone elses.  I struggle to scrape together moments of solitude, write snippets and thoughts and memories of self on scraps of construction paper and kitchen chalkboards, beside grocery and to-do lists.  The mundane necessity of keeping chaos at bay, dishes clean, babies fed, toddlers and pre-schoolers amused, soothed and loved is an endless, and often unforgiving, pursuit- one that more often than not, I seem to fail at.  

I teeter between anxiety and pride about my small charges, who are at once so fragile and so unflinchingly fearless.  There are so many things to protect my children from in any given day, not the least of which is myself -- my own baggage, childhood and knee jerk emotional reflexes.  These reflexes too, have to be swallowed, thought about, revisited, smoothed over.

I have had my absolute best, and proudest moments as a mama.  I have also been taken to my rock bottom lowest as a mama.  The pendulum seems to swing back and forth between these highs and lows so often.  Motherhood has made me turn myself inside out and pull out my stuffing.  I'm restuffing bit by bit, and learning so much about myself in the process.  What a crazy, amazing, horrible, dark, scary, wonderful, exciting ride.  I have never felt so responsible, so fierce, so protective, so loving, so angry, so helpless, so grateful, so raw.  And we musn't forget so tired.

I've just started reading this really lovely anthology on mothering, edited by Eden Steinberg.  In her introduction, Steinberg writes:

"I realized that if I was going to survive this thing, I was going to have to grow and change. . . I also saw that I was ultimately going to have to let go of my very self-concept, my idea of motherhood, and my expectations of my child.  All of it had to go. . . . I thought that as a mother I would carefully mold and shape my children.  If I did my job right, my children would turn out to be well-adjusted, loving, thoughtful and interesting people.  As it turns out, motherhood is molding and shaping me.  At the end of all this, I am the one who could end up well-adjusted, loving, thoughtful and interesting."  (xv, 2007).

I couldn't have said it better if I tried.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Repost: Being a transparent

Hey all - check out this thoughtful parenting piece on being the parent of a trans child from the Huffington Post.  Good read :)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gretchen-peters/being-transparent_b_1100823.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

Body talk

Hiya peeps. My sincerest apologies for being so absent of late. I am going through some pretty turbulent times. But I'm still here. And aim to be back with more thoughtfulness and more regularity.

But - today I want to talk a bit about how to create food and body hatin' behaviours in girls with great body politics who really love food. I know, right? Should be more challenging than it is, really.

I know I've talked about this before. But lately, in the midst of my life turbulence, my body has gotten smaller. Like, by a lot. And everyone and their dog, kitty, doctor, and sales clerk is shooting me the proverbial high- five. (Here- I would like to point out that my totally awesome rad friends do not fall into the aforementioned shrinkage celebrants - they, because they are cool, fall into the 'what-the-fuck-are-you-ok'? category, which between you, me and the lamppost is the only appropriate response to sudden-ish 60 lb weight loss).

At any rate - the high-fiving is fucking with my head. Really. (And if it's fucking with MY head, me a former fuck-you-world, defiant fat-chick - I shudder, really shudder - to think how much it impacts people without the same body politics as me.).

I consistently try to respond to people's 'compliments' with retorts about the divorce/depression/life upheaval diet. But you know what? It doesn't matter. People don't care they say things like:'Well - whatever you're doing, girl, it's working for you! Keep it up!'. I say, 'it's a side effect of the anti-depressants!' And they say 'Sweet! Where can I get some??'

Seriously. No, seriously. That is some crazy-assed shit. I tell you I've lost a huge amount of weight because I'm about to jump off a cliff, and you say, 'you GO, girl?'

Alrighty then.

And so I find myself - a former fat girl - attempting to retain some of her former world defiance and really, quite intensely struggling with it. I find myself longing a bit for the days when I was, objectively, a fat chick, because I liked my body and treated it with so much more compassion then. Because the attention I got back then didn't feel like such a mirage.

I know it feels like second nature to tell people they look great when they get smaller. We're trained well in this area.

I'm asking you to think about that impulse a bit more carefully. It really, really isn't helpful. It isn't useful. It isn't kind. Not even a little bit.

End of rant-age, and back to your regularly unscheduled programming.

T




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Thursday, November 24, 2011

At Boy-o's school (it's a lovely, arty place), they frequently hang projects by students in the hall. This particular week, they have these cool self portraits, along with a question about the world each child came up with. Some of my favourite questions included:

I wonder how birds lay eggs?

I wonder how storms make fire? (boy-o, my natural disaster obsessed child!)

I wonder why my tummy hurts? (lol!)

I wonder why bones break?

And, my personal favourite (sorry Boy-o):

I wonder how people survive this life?

(Damn! That is some existential shit, little person.)

Pretty cool project :)


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Donate to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers

Why You Shouldn't Donate to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers


Re-post on Adoption Awareness Month

Check out this great post on adoption (*and racism) from Alissa over at Offbeat Mama today.  It's a gooder.

Things I know and things I wonder

Things I know:
1.  Kids are happier and reasonably well-adjusted when their parents are happier and reasonably well-adjusted.
2.  Kids adapt fairly well to change, particularly when they are younger.
3.  Kids are resilient, tough little creatures.

Things I Wonder:
1.  How the hell do our kids survive us?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sociological Images: Defining Fat

Kind of a neat post by the folks over at Sociological Images about two projects illustrating how fat gets defined.  Me likey.

happy thoughts

fresh sparkly diamond snow.  wishing stars.  dandelion blowing.
pretty shoes.
friends.  old ones.  new ones.
sunshine.
kid laughter.
girlio 'crushing my head'.
rare moments of hopefulness.  time for a really long run.
writing.
full-body-snuggles.
wine guerilla.   art.  randomly kind strangers.
forgiveness.  reminders that you are not alone.
dancing my pants off.  songs that really get you.
a good cry.

what I need today - how 'bout you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another kid lit fave

Ok.  I know I'm on a kid lit roll.  You're probably getting sick of it.  My apologies.  I'm tired and don't have a lot in my head these days.  Ok.  That's actually not true.  My head is freaking crammed.  It's amazing shit doesn't start to bleed out my ears.  But, I don't have a lot in my head that I can write about.  And so, with this excuse, I give you another fab piece of kid lit.  About shoes.  Yes.  Shoes.  As you can tell, this is my kind of book.

Image
It's called A Flock of Shoes, and it's really quite beautifully written by Canadian poet/author Sarah Tsiang and illustrated by Qin Leng (Annick Press, 2010).  The tale follows Abby and her lovely sandals (which are pink and brown with lime green trim) through all of the warm-weather fun together.  When the weather gets colder, Abby doesn't want to part with her beloved sandals, but finds she must.  All winter, Abby wonders about her sandals.  Luckily they send postcards from far-away warm places to keep her posted on their activities and assuring her of their love: “Thought about your heels today. We miss you to the bottom of our soles.”  But Abby eventually warms up to, and then grows quite fond of her winter boots (which are white and blue with purple trim all around the edges, and awfully good for running and stomping in the snow).  When spring rolls around, Abby doesn't want to let her beloved boots go, either (I can so relate to this and, like Abby, will probably be wearing totally non-sensible footwear when I go out tonight in the middle of our first snow).  It's a lovely story, full of footwear fantasy, and beautiful illustrations, and it reads just as well for the two year old set as it does for the five year olds.  Both Boy-o and Girlio are shoe lovers, and they love this book a lot.


But - not as much as me. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Manic Monday Musing

Wondering today, if other people really ever feel like they know what they're doing.  I mean, they look like they know what they're doing.  But do they feel like it?

Surely I can't be the only one who always feels like a total screw-up.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

food and grief blog project

One of the readers here, thenextbeyond, has a really cool blog project up on the site Food Funeral: Stories about Love, Loss and Stuffing Your Face, about the (inter)relationships between food and grief.   The site is just getting up and running, but the format largely depending on guest posters, offers photos of dear and departed loved ones, followed by memories of and relationships to each other and to food.  It is lovely, wonderful, sad, and definitely, definitely food for the soul.  

After relating her intense memories of her deceased father and their familial food rituals, thenextbeyond writes:
My dad’s death was sudden, sad and drug-related. Since it happened, I’ve been looking for ways to keep him close, do him justice, and to heal.  The next step on that journey is to sit down every year and eat some ice cream. I’ve also decided to create a place for all of us to collect our stories — about food and remembering.  So, tell me. Who died? How much did you love them? And what did they like to eat more than anything in the whole world?

They are just getting the ball rolling and seeking submissions - so folks, if you've lost someone you loved, and you have a story to tell about the relationship between food and loss - this is the place.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Colour me happy


Ok.  Christmas is coming.  (Yes, I know.  Gasp, shudder, snow, brrrrr, and all of that).
Anyhow, most of us have kids, nieces, nephews, neighbour urchins, and so forth and whathaveyou and et cetera to buy a prezzie or two for.  And oftentimes, the smalls are hard to shop for.  Because smalls these days have a lot of shit.  Emphasis on shit.  
So in case you’re feeling stumped about what to get for the youngs in your life, and wanted some ideas, be stumped no longer!  Here’s my shameless change-the-world kiddo present linkage blog.  (Yes.  This is actually part of the homosexual agenda.  No, I will not get a toaster oven if you choose to purchase from one of these links.  I have to actually convert you for that.  FYI - I kinda need a new toaster oven.  Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.  Digressing.)
  1. Normally I am all kinds of anti-colouring books.  The business of colouring inside of pre-fab imagination killing lines rubs me the wrong way.  HOWEVER... these are the coolest, most feminist, queer positive, gender bending colouring books ever by artist Jacinta Bunnell.  There are currently three available, 1. Sometimes a Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon, Girls Are Not Chicks, and Boys Will be Girls Will be Boys.  You should totally gift the smalls with these.  I bought them for my kids, and my nieces (Really a perfect present from the crazy lesbo aunties.  Spot on).   But don't take my word for it... Check ‘em out for yourself and see what you think.   Available at http://pmpress,org and www.girlsarenotchicks.com


2.  If you’re wanting to outfit the kids in some feminist-inspired clothes, look no further than pigtail pals.  With tees, dresses, school gear and more, you’ll find awesome slogans like: “Pretty’s got nothing to do with it,” (which Girlio will be sportin’ come January) and “Colours are for Everyone” (which I’ll be purchasing for Boy-o, in pink, natch).  Great colours, good politics.  http://pigtailpals.com


3.  II'm always flogging kid lit, but I found a new one about appreciating differences called “Spork” by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Aresenault.  Available at kidscanpress.com.  It's a gooder.


4.  The Child Health Website store.  www.thechildhealthsite.com.  This site combines gifting for kids with gifting kids around the world.  Not only do they sell fairtrade merchandise (for people of all ages), a small portion of everything bought from the site goes to kids’ health initiatives worldwide.   They have neat stuff like wooden kaleidoscopes, handknit kids gear, puzzles and nightlights.  If you have older kids to shop for, they also have a great ‘gifts that give more’ section, where you can give charitably in someones’ name and receive a certificate.  Maybe your tots might appreciate being the gifter of dolls to other kids in refugee camps, or building a well in Afghanistan, or helping to pay for speech therapy for a child in need with autism.


5.  And my last good idea (hopeful not, like, ever.  Just for now.).  Kids love, love, love, love receiving shit in the mail.  Not actual shit.  Letters and such.  Kid friendly magazine subscriptions that surprise them every one or two months? So exciting!  Here's a few that span ages...

1. Chirp - for the littler littles (3-6)
2. Chickadee - for the bigger littles (6-9)
3. Owl - (9-13)
- found at http://owlkids.com
4.  For tween girls - New Moon Girls
-written by girls and for girls ages 8-13 - AND ad free
- found at http://newmoon.com


I"m sure there's lot of other great, non-plastic-y toysrus options out there.  Anyone else have suggestions???

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Tell if Your Child Has Difficulty with Transitions

Leaving the House
You are getting ready to leave, going through the same routine as usual.
Child is squirrely.  (Those who have children who also get squirrely will recognize this as a word).
Babysitter arrives, same time as usual.  
Child is happy to see her, as usual.  But still squirrely.  
You put on your coat, grab your bag and your laptop.
“Mama!  Mama!  Are you leaving?  Mama!  I love you!”
“I love you too, sweetie.  I’ll be back right before lunch, just like always.”
“Right before lunch?”
“You bet.”
“Okay.  I’ll see you at lunch-time.”
After a hug and a kiss, you head for the door.
As your hand touches the knob, you hear:
“Mama!  Mama!  Wait!  Mama!  I need a kissing hand.” *
You pause, bend down and repeat the kissing hand sequence.
“Okay Mama.  Bye Mama.”
“Bye Honey.  I’ll see you at lunch-time.”
You once again reach for the doorknob.  This time you make it half-way out of the door.
“Mama!  MAMA!  I’m blowing kisses!  Mama!  I’m blowing kisses!”
You turn around and blow several kisses through the window.
You then turn around and make it as far as the garage door.
“MAMA!  WAIT!  MAMA COME BACK!  I need to give you a HUG!”
And you turn back to the house for another  goodbye hug.
You tell your child that you love them.  Madly.  And repeat once again that you’ll be home at lunch-time.  You make it to the garage and open the garage door.  You pause ever-so-slightly to see if you will be recalled.  Hearing nothing, you step across the threshold.  
“MAMA!  Mama!  I LOVE YOU MAMA!  SEE YOU SOON MAMA!” 
You thrust a waving hand out of the door so they can see it and make a run for the car.
* This is a term borrowed from the children’s book called “The Kissing Hand,” by Audrey Penn.  It’s a bit corny.  But it works well for kids that have separation issues.  Also highly useful in this regard is “The Invisible String,” by Patrice Karst.    

(Mostly) Wordfree Kidlit

Dancing Boy by Ronald Himler

Dancing Boy


This book is awesome.  All kinds of awesome goodness.  And totally, completely wordless.  This works well for Boy-o and Girlio these days, as they are really into storytelling from pictures on their own terms.  This book follows the journey of a wee joyful streaker,  who entices other tots into his bare-bottomed happiness.  It's sweet, wordless, streaking fun.  And pretty darned irresistible.


Mudkin by Stephen Gammel

Mudkin(K-3)Mudkin is where the (mostly) part of my title comes in.  There are words, but they are minimalist.  The illustrations are what take centre stage in this lovely story about a world created by a young girl using nothing but a mud puddle and some seriously good imagination.  The pictures are vivid, engaging and do a wonderful job and telling the story.





They are both definite, definite must reads.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Seen and heard

Seen and heard this morning, while having an exceedingly rare moment to myself in the shower: a little blue-eyed Boy-o popping his head around the shower curtain and telling me so so sweetly- "Mama - I'm just checking on you to make sure you're not lonely."

Oh, my heart.


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Toopy and Binoo

I think I have already written some about how much I love the kids show Toopy and Binoo.  It is all kinds of weird, and full of gender non-specific fun.  Neither Toopy nor Binoo are gendered, and Toopy's voice is not immediately recognizable as male or female.  Toopy is known to rock the princess gear as easily as s/he rocks the knight in shining armour gear.  It's pretty cool.  But yesterday, while hanging with the smalls, we saw a particularly funny/interesting episode.

Toopy and Binoo, dressed as knights, go on a hunt for a scary wolf and fire breathing dragon, with a bunch of villagers (sheep) in tow.

They eventually find said wolf (dressed in a gown) and said fire-breathing dragon (also dressed to the nines and rocking' heels). Everyone is initially scared of the wolf and the dragon, moreover, the wolf and dragon are scared of each other.

Realizing people are scared, the wolf protests: "I'm not a scary wolf! I'm a PRINCESS!". To which the dragon says, "YOU'RE a princess? I'M a princess, too!"

Toopy, bless his/her chameleon heart, takes this all in stride.

But the villager/sheep can be seen in behind, whispering to each other: "So - is that a wolf or what?!"

Queerest kids show ever...

Love.


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Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Lorax

They've gone and done it.  They've fucked up a perfectly good (possibly the best) Dr. Seuss book by pandering to humour of the lowest common denominator.

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/11/05/that-one-sexist-joke-in-every-trailer-cue-the-lorax/

Click above and watch the trailer for the upcoming film version of The Lorax.  It ends with a horrible sexist (and gender-fucked) joke.  Really?  Was it really necessary?

Sigh.  BIG one.

thinking positive...

I was having coffee with someone yesterday, talking about some life upheaval or another, and she asked me: "What's your best case scenario?"  This stumped me.  Really.  Stumped.  Best case scenario?  A life in momentary perfection?  Foreign - even in the land of my imagination.

For so long, I've only allowed myself to think in the realm of worst case scenario.  My philosophy has always been - if you imagine the worst, you'll never be horribly disappointed.  In fact, as a teenager I convinced myself that if I could picture something happening, it wouldn't.  So if you picture the worst, maybe it won't happen?  That piece of superstition has stayed with me into adulthood, though I can recognize it as totally irrational.  Yeah - I catch myself getting caught up in that hopeful daydream-y place sometimes, but I generally try to smack it down as quickly as it comes up.

But it occurs, suddenly, that perhaps that's cheating myself a bit.  If you can't even let yourself envision the things you really want, how can you work towards them?   Or further still, if you can't even allow yourself to envision those things you might really want, how do you believe you might actually deserve them?

So -  renaissance project #145 - picture the happy place and see what comes of it.

Female bloggers...

Hey all -

A friend alerted me to this article on the experiences (some particularly crappy ones, I might add) of female and feminist bloggers.  Read and share!  It's important.

Thanks,

T

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Repost: Study on Lezzie Moms

Here's an article from the Globe and Mail about lesbian families and children's well-being.  Interesting, I suppose... though certainly a few problematic areas of the study, I felt.  (Why will no one challenge the perception that lack of male role familial models is across-the-board detrimental, for instance?  And in some ways the study/article challenge the hetero-nuclear family model, and in other ways it totally emphasizes it.  Anyhoo).  Have a read if you feel so inclined.

Friday, November 4, 2011

When your kids tell you off...

I read a post this morning on Offbeat Mama (that I used to write for before they told me I was too negative... But I'm over it.  You know, mostly.  In a negative kinda way ;) about dealing with the hurt that comes your way when your toddler (or child) tells you off.  You should give it a read.  It's well thought out and really nicely written.  But I'd take it a  mite further, because, let's be clear - my kids do a much more thorough job of telling me off than this woman's kid (lucky, lucky me for raising such 1. passionate and 2. freaking verbose children).

For instance, Boy-o once told me, as I was tucking him into bed after a particularly tantrum-y, challenging, emotional day, that I was, in fact, a rotten and terrible mother.  That is a direct quote.  Rotten and terrible mother.  Holy. Fucking. Ouch.  I have also been "I hate you"ed.  O course these utterances are normal.  At least normal when your kids feel safe enough to tell you, which is, of course, a success really.  But these things hurt.  Really, kick-in-the-pants-kinda-take-your-breath-away-hurt.  Precisely because they manage to tap into your worst fears.  You are a bad parent.  You dealt with things badly.  You hurt your child.  You get an F.  You are ill-suited for this.  You will be paying for years of your kids' therapy.  And your own.  And so on and so forth.  I have been called some shitty assed things in my life.  Fat, stupid, ugly, blah, blah, blahs.  Nothing has ever hurt so much as the horrible mother accusation coming from my then three-year old.  The Books will tell you not to personalize.  To shake it off.  etc. etc. (ad nauseum).

But these thoughts and worries are always, always present for me.  Maybe I'm more anxious than most.  (Okay, probably I'm more anxious than most - who are we kidding, right?!)  But more than that - I wanted to have kids so badly, and for so long, that I am really, really hard on myself.  And unforgiving of myself.  Because the process of planning and trying to conceive these amazing little smalls took so long, and so much out of me.  I have never, never not ever wanted anything more in this world.  And because I spent so much of that journey imagining what kind of parent I would be, could be, wanted to be.  Because my littles were so, so, so wanted.  I thought I would be better at this.  I thought it would be easier, that I would be so prepared.  I thought so many, many silly and naive things.

But the long and the short of it is this:  this shit is HARD (And whatever with a capital W.  Maybe I'm too negative.  But I prefer to think of it as honest...).  Parenting is hard, hard, crazy hard shit.  It will push your buttons - every single one of them.  And you will fuck up.  Big.  And your kids will be right.  You will be a terrible, rotten mother some days.  And you will have to find a way to move forward from that, try to do things differently, incrementally better, the next day, hour, minute.  You will disappoint your kids.  Your kids will disappoint you.  You just have to hope, as with anything, that what sticks with them is that you love them enough to let them tell you off.  You love them enough to hear that you are a terrible, bad mother.

And enough to stuff down any knee-jerk reaction you might normally have when you get sucker-punched and respond with: "That's ok.  We had a tough day, you and I. And I'm sorry if I let you down.  But sometimes I don't get it right. And I love you every second of every day, no matter what.  And sweet dreams."

Monday, October 31, 2011

Questions of the I-wasn't-expecting-that variety

So- it's Halloween.  The kids have been HELL all day.  Freaky, weird, blow-your-socks-off, drop-the-f-bomb-more-than-once kind of hell.  I'm trying to get dinner on the table so that we can get faces painted, costumes on, and the kids out the door.  And I tell the kids how when I was little, we used to say "Halloween Apples!" at the door instead of "trick or treat!".

And Boy-o asks - "Was Girlio in your tummy then?"

Me:  "No honey, I was just a kid like you.  You have to be a grown-up to have a baby in your tummy" (lie #1).

Boy-o: "Well, how do babies get IN your tummy?"

Me: "uhhhhh."

L takes this opportunity to begin: "Well, when two people love each other, they work really hard to have a baby..." (Lie #2 - you don't have to love or even like each other to make a baby, but we'll leave the joys of casual sex for another day, say when he's six or so).

Me: "Honey - you have to have eggs from a woman's body and sperm from a man's body to make a baby.  They get all mixed up and then hang out in the woman's belly and a baby grows."

Boy-o looks at me quizzically.

Me:  "Yeah, I know, Mama and Mommy didn't have any sperm from a man to make a baby"  Bit of a pause... "So we went shopping!"

And Boy-o, satisfied, goes back to the business of getting ready for supper.

Ba-dump-ching.