Thursday, June 14, 2012

for Girlio

For Girlio, who turns three tomorrow...

We should have known, dear one, from the moment that you hurtled into the world like a little baby storm, how very fiery and fierce you would be.  Your passion for the world around you (whether you're liking it or not ;) is always in evidence.  We also should have known, after labouring all through the night, that you would be a night owl, through and through ;).

Your first expression, and your mommy and I both concur on this, was one of mild chagrin and disbelief-- as if you were concerned, at the ripe old age of a few minutes, of the validity of our parenting credentials.  I cannot believe that three whole years have passed since that amazing day when you came into our lives.  I cannot believe the tall, certain-of-herself, clever wee creature you have become.

Your expressiveness is really something to behold.  Your face holds a thousand or more expressions, and each one is so telling and so demonstrative.  I can never really pinpoint a'favourite' photo of you - they're all so full of character, and so very, very full of you-ness.

I continue to be astounded, each day, at how articulate you are.  The other day, I said something to you - I can't remember what exactly- and you looked at me quizzically and responded: "Well, that's very curious, isn't it?"  Curious, indeed sweet child.  I still remember your first sentence, at the rips old age of 19 months, when you looked at the cat, pointed and reprimanded imperiously: "KITTY!  Off table NOW!"  And you continue to wow me with your utterances and phrases.  You miss nothing.  I see how you watch the world around you intently - and how you take it all in with those big blue eyes of yours.  I look so forward to the many conversations we will have about the ways in which you see the world!

You don't give your love away immediately, like your more easily wooed big brother.  But man oh man, how you make people reallllly want to work for it.  Sweetie - I am hard-pressed to think of a sound more delicious than your laugh.  And your cuddles - oh! - they are amazing and soul-balmy.  We've nicknamed you "koala-baby" for the way you completely wrap yourself around us with your arms and legs.  It's like being utterly enveloped in the marvellous, squeeze-y love!

Your love of movement, dancing, music is so beautiful to watch!  Pretty much every song that comes on the radio is met with "That's MY song!", followed by some hip-shakin' dance moves (in the living room, in your car seat, in the grocery store).

Everything about you is a full bodied experience.  Full bodied happy, full bodied mad, full bodied everything.  It all happens with some serious gusto.   But your intensity fits in well around here.  And even though we all butt heads sometimes - we love pretty fiercely, too.

I love your brave, sweet heart.  Though, like your mama, you are shy to start with - there is a determination about you that transcends shy, especially when sticking up for your 'peeps,' (as you like to inform people, 'peeps' is what we say for 'our people.')  My own brave, sweet heart almost cracked open when your big brother was speaking about some kids being mean to him on the playground.  And without missing a beat, you looked up at him seriously, adoringly and oh-so-fiercely and snarled: "I will beat them with my sword!"  Nobody will ever mess with your peeps and get away with it!  Not on your watch.  I get a little thrill every time you show off 'your muscles' and talk about how strong you are.  And you are strong!  I imagine you will excel at sports someday - given your love of running and tumbling (and you know, hitting things with sticks!).

As two draws to a close for you, you are wildly comical, dramatic, silly, coy, shy, brave, active, and so full of enthusiasm for life.  (And I would be remiss if I didn't point out here that you are the best ever shoe shopping partner ;)).  t can't wait to see what the next year brings for you and for us.

Happy birthday, my fierce and gorgeous daughter.  You are such a gift and I simply cannot imagine a world making sense without you in it.

Love always,

Your Mama

p.s.  Ok, sweetie.  So just one thing -  you've got this princess phase going on.  I can deal with it (since I'm a bit of a princess myself).  I'm just hoping you'll remember (and if not, I'll keep reminding you) that princesses always, always, always rescue themselves!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Getting art-y

So, for my birthday, I got this amazingly wonderful gift of attending a multi-media art workshop at a local art studio.  And here's what I created.  I'm sorta, kinda, a wee bit proud of my first attempt :)

other people and divorce

So - I had this goddawful conversation with a neighbour the other day.  It involved her, sharing the observation (aka surveilling) that I'd lost a ton of weight and that "I'd be perfect if I lost 10 more pounds." So right away, I'm not feeling all loving.  But then, the conversation gets even better, if such a thing is imaginable.

"I was just SICK when I heard about your separation."  She tells me.  "Just SICK."

Now, I wish I could say that this is the first time I'd heard this reaction.  It isn't.  I get this one a lot.  It's probably the most common response I get, in fact.  In a way, I understand this reaction.  L and I were the Toni and Clarisse (Dykes to Watch Out For reference there) of our cohort.  I get this.  From the outside, we looked a lot like the Cleavers.  Actually, we looked a lot like that from the inside, too.  At any rate.  I understand people's surprise.  I understand people's concern.  I understand feeling slightly discomfited.   But if one more person tells me that my separation is making them feel ill, sick or barfy, I will rain down hellfire and brimstone all over their sick selves!  Seriously - how do people expect me to respond to this?  "Gee, I'm so super sorry that my personal pain makes you feel uncomfortable?" or,  "Sorry to have inconvenienced you?" or something along those lines?

 Think about the fact that:

1.  I spent so, so much time agonizing, heart up in my throat, desperately trying to figure out another way to be happy, be whole, be myself and keep my family together;
2.  that every night I go to bed with my brain whirring with terror that I've split up my children's home and parents and security;
3.  that I've desperately hurt someone that I greatly respect and who is a good and loving person, in order to save my waning self;
4.  that I've lost several other friends because these things are uncomfortable and yucky and hard;
5.  that I have no real security, very little income, no housing;
6.  that I've taken a giant leap into some really, really fearful and unfamiliar territory;
7. that, in light of #'s 1-6, I often feel pretty barfy, myself.

In light of all of that - I gotta say - I think it's fucking nuts that when my life is in total chaos, other people would like ME to comfort THEM about it.   C'mon now.  Really?

When my neighbour uttered this phrase, (in a lovely one - two punch right after calling me fat,) I just turned and walked away.  Didn't even bother with the awkward smile, or the sympathetic, "mmmmmm."  Just walked off.

Next time it happens, I don't think I'll be nearly so kind.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Parenting under the influence

No, no and no, I don't want to discuss parenting whilst drunk.  This isn't that kind of blog.

I'm talking about being sad.  (Because, as you know, this is that kind of blog).   And I don't mean, boo-hoo-I-have- pms-and-that-commercial-with-the-baby-kittens-made-me-snivel kind of sad.  I mean, sad-sad.  Trying-desperately-to-hold-it-together-but-oh-my-god-that-Hedley-song-is-sooooooo-sad-and-now-I'm-crying-and-wiping-away-tears-and-snot-while-driving-in-rush-hour-sad.  (Attractive.  I know.  You totally want me right now.)  

The thing about me is, when I feel stuff, I don't sorta feel it.  I FEEL it.  It takes me over and it rocks me.  It's a full bodied thing, and I've been told it radiates.  You know, kind of intensely.  (Shocking, I know).  So then, other people FEEL it too.  And so, here I am FEELING shit.  But I have these littles.  These beautiful, lovely littles who have no need to experience my FEELING.  And I've been trying so very hard to 'buck up' around them.  I force the smile and pull out the crayons or walk to the park.  I do my very, very best to hold it together and do a good job of it.  But it's exhausting keeping up that front, especially because it doesn't really work very well anyways.  Littles are intuitive little buggers, and some, like my Boy-o, are veritable emotional sponges (sigh, sigh, and sigh, he comes by this so, so honestly.  Sorry about that, sweet little dude).  And besides them being intuitive little beings, the front always slips.  Because, well, fronts are freaking heavy to hold up all day.  Today, at the park, I'm half-watching them play and half in my head, and I don't even realize there's a tear slipping down my face.  Front fail.  Good job, Mamacita.

And so what's a sad mama to do?  It's not like I'm not going to get it together.  I always do (you know, mostly).  Do you sit them down and explain to them the shitty astrological mayhem of the transit of Venus (yes, yes, I know it's pretty).  (And yes, yes, I'm being droll).  Do you tell them the truth, because they probably know anyways?  Do you keep lying and hefting up the front as best you can?  Really, I don't know the answer to this.  I only saw my own mom cry maybe a handful of times as a kid and it scared the living shit right out of me.  Because as a child, she was my touchstone for safety and consistency and through her I knew that all was right with the world.  I would assume my kidlets feel much the same.  And they've already seen me cry much more than a handful of times.  Is this awful?  Am I scarring them? How honest should we be with our kids about this stuff?

Anyways... today, I opted for a truth/lie combo (my one-two parenting punch).  After they busted me being teary, I spoke to being sad with them.  I told them that everyone has sad feelings sometimes, even grown-ups, and that it's normal and okay to feel sad and cry.  Boy-o added sagely: "Yes, or angry!  Or frustrated!  Or happy!"  Well, at least we've raised 'em feelings literate.  I assured them that even though I was feeling sad, it had absolutely nothing at all to do with their perfect and wonderful selves, who bring me great, great joy always.  To this, they both nodded vigourously.  (God-I love these little people so much that sometimes it physically hurts).  And then Boy-o reached his little arms up and wrapped me in a hug.  And Girlio dog piled on top (which actually hurt, but was very, very sweet).  And then asked:  "Mama?  Are you feeling all better now?"  And then, I squeezed down the lump rapidly re-growing in my throat, forced a big smile and lied outright.  "Absolutely.  I feel all better now."

A must read from HuffPost

I read this post today, on HuffPost's parenting blogroll.  It made me cry big, big crocodile tears.  And it is so right on.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I need to make lists!  Lots of lists.  It's how I think.  I'm listy.
But I cannot, for the life of me, find a pen.  Anywhere.
And I can't think in crayon.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

a reconfiguration of self trash-talkin'

1.  I am clumsy.  But it's because I'm too busy being fabulous to notice things like the table being a little further away than the glass.  I may be a bull in a china shop, but china shops are horribly boring anyways.
2.  I blurt things out.  It can be charming.  And highly entertaining.
3.  I'm awkward.  Physically and socially.  It makes me all sweet and approachable.
4.  I'm not going ever to be the girl everyone falls all over.  But I got some moves.  And excellent fashion sense.
5.  I feel helpless a lot of the time.  I know when it comes down to it, I'm really super scrappy.  Like, hella tough.
6.  There are loads of things I don't love about my body.  It's mine.  It's super strong.  Sensuous.  And I love to dress it up.  I love to take it dancing.  I have a killer smile.  Half-decent eyes.  And I grew babies from scratch in this thing.
7.  I am far too trusting.  I have this capacity to be open-hearted and loving that I am really pretty proud of.
8.  I give too much of myself away.  I am fantastic at nurturing and caring.
9.  I'm not exciting.  Maybe not, but I am amazingly genuine, dependable and pretty effing smart.
10.  I'm scared all of the freaking time.  But I do it anyways.  So I guess that makes me brave.