Saturday, June 28, 2014

Lost and found

I was puttering around straightening up last night, as Lilly trailed after me.  She's kind of like a radio, in that she never stops making noise and is unconcerned if I actually response.

She told me stories about school, and about how much she loves to wear tights and that that is okay because it is her body, and how beautiful I am, though, actually, could I please cut my hair because she is finding it distracting.

At one point she stops, leans over, and looks at something on the couch.

"Mom?  Look, there is an eyeball on the couch!"

"Really?" I say, while paying almost no attention.

"Yeah!  A tiny little eyeball.  Where do you think it came from?"

"Not sure, babe."

"Do you think it's Josie's?"

What?  Ew!  No, I do not think her three month old cousin's eyeball fell out and somehow made its way to our couch.

"Probably not, Lilly.  Thomas and Jessica would have been asking around for it."

"You should call them."

I'm on it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Gimme Five

Couple of things on the agenda today, people.

First off, I kind of apologize for that recent downer of a post.  Just this parenting thing is an absolutely dichotomous mix of "YOU ARE SO ANNOYING" and "YOU MUST NEVER LEAVE ME."  Which, now that I mention it, may have been the actually Freudian definition of a schizophrenigenic mother.  I AM making the children crazy!

It is very weird.

On the one hand: "You find your goddamned shoe in the next 30 seconds or I swear on all that is holy I will staple them to your feet.  You will sleep in your shoes.  You will bathe in your shoes.  We will have a twice-a-year celebration of Moving Up a Shoe Size! and / or Changing into Winter Shoes.  I don't know for sure.  I haven't thought through all of the details of your new life, but trust me when I say that this old, shoe-losing life will be a sweet memory unless you figure out where your fucking shoes are."

On the other hand: "I would die without you."

I should probably be nicer to people that it would kill me to live without.

And I try, but when I go to take them out to dinner or to the museum, we can't go because their fucking shoes got eaten by the ether.  Or slid into another dimension through the wormhole in our boot room.  Or the Borrowers took it to use as a boat.


We are in the process of buying a car.

Chris when to the dealer today while I stayed home with the kids.  I didn't tell them what was up until Chris sent the message that he was signing papers on a new car.

"Where's Daddy?" asks Owen

"He's buying a new car."

"You are going to trade in the red car?" (How the hell does he know that??)


"So I'm never going to see the red car again?"

"I . . . guess not, little man."

He stands there.  Tears in his eyes.  Not falling, though.  He's a stoic kind of sensitive.   His lip wobbles a little as he says, "I didn't even get to say good-bye."

He says it gently.  He's not *accusing* me of anything.  Just, you know, pointing thing out.  He visibly pulls himself together a little bit and says, "It's okay.  I can say good-bye in spirit."

He literally said those words.  What 6 year old talks like that?  Do I talk like that?  Where did he COME from?

Sam had caught wind of this by this point and wandered over.  "I don't think this is a good idea, Mom."

"Why not?" Also, too late now, and I'm just listening to be respectful, but it's a fake kind of respect because there is no going back now.

"I just don't think I want to get used to a new car."

These are my children.  These are my people.  Let's never experience change, together.


Another Owen story:  We left some chalk outside and when we went outside this afternoon, some passerby had used it to make a pretty good batman emblem.

Owen saw it, and said, "Who made this?"

"I don't know Owen.  It wasn't someone in our family."

"No, sweriouswy.  Who made this?  Because they need to get a high-five."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Win some, lose some

I happened to mention something about gay marriage in front of Sam, and how it wasn't legal in Ohio.

He asked me what I meant by that and I said that, in Ohio, a man isn't allowed to marry a man, and a woman isn't allowed to marry a woman.

He did that thing where he tilts his head like a confused dog and squints his eyes.

"Why?  That's not fair."


(except what have I told you about life not being fair)

WE'RE teaching him our MORALS!  We are WINNING!

(conservatives are horrified)

But . . .

Then I heard that the boys had used my sister's phone to take pictures of their junk.

And I don't mean that in the "old useless items" sense.

I was all, "HAHAHAHA . . . . wait."

Children are horrifying.

Monday, June 9, 2014


A little girl in Owen's class at school died of cancer this weekend.

So that's pretty horrifying.

The mother of this child posted once about sitting next to her daughter's bed and thinking, "We will beat this. She will be okay because I will not allow this to happen."

And then.

We don't really have that kind of power, do we?  But we feel like we do.  It is unacceptable, and therefore I will not accept it, and therefore it will not happen.  And every parenting magazine and "News at Eleven" and internet article encourages us to feel that way.

Parents Magazine, for example has, as one of it's regular items, "It Happened to Me," - a monthly look at a new unusual way your child's life could be at risk.  Eating deodorant.  Burning bare feet on black summer asphalt.  Choking on a detached key fob.  This is aside from the feature articles which have an in-depth look into ways your child's life could be at risk.

What is the PURPOSE of these stories?  The message is - always - watch more.  Watch better.  Watch harder.  Do not allow this to happen.

Have you ever read the comments after an article where a child died in a preventable way?  It's the parent's fault.  They messed up.  They should have been watching.  I would not allow that to happen.  Hidden somewhere in this is also the subversive message that if you allow it to happen, than you deserve it.

We all seem to operating under a logical fallacy that because a particular death was, in retrospect, preventable, that all death is, prospectively, preventable.  But a child who is not swimming unsupervised in a pool is playing with a beading kit, or swinging on a swing, or eating a hot dog, or growing a tumor.

I read an article recently, regarding the language that has started to surround cancer - "she beat it," "her parents never gave up," "she's fighting so hard."  Notice the creeping linguistic implication that if you are just strong enough, you can control even cancer?  That if we "fight" (fight how?), and keep hoping (as if there are parents who couldn't be bothered) than we can tell the very cells in our child's bodies that they must not do this - we will not allow this.  

These stories, of these parents who have lost their children, they break our hearts.  And I think the way we live with it - the way we get out of the terrified space in our heads - is to tell ourselves that we wouldn't allow it.

And, honestly, you have to cope somehow.  I don't think you can be an effective parent if you've tipped the wrong way on the razor edge between gratitude and fear.  I'm so grateful for my children.  These past few days, I've been so afraid.  And I've been giving Owen way too many marshmallows.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pillow Talk

Chris and I were getting ready for bed last night when he said, "Oh, hey, guess what?!  I farted today!"

Normally, that wouldn't be something we overtly discussed, but when you've experienced the kind of gastrointestinal stress we have lately, any farts that aren't sharts are cause for celebration.

"That's great news, Chris!"

"Yeah, I thought it was a sign I was better, but then I was in CVS and I started cramping."

"Uh oh.  What did you do?"

"Well," Chris says, "at first I thought 'man, I've got to hurry up with my shopping' but pretty soon I was was thinking 'okay, I've got to hurry up and get out of here and find a bathroom,' and then a few minutes later I was contemplating, in a very real sense, what it would be like to shit myself in public as a grown man."

"That would be rough.  You wouldn't go pants down in the bushes, if it came to it?"

"No, I decided I would get in the car, keep my pants on, just let it happen, and then drive home."

"It's not a bad plan, Chris, but where do you go from there?  Do you take the rest of the day off?"

"No!  I would change and go back to work!  What am I going to do, sit around and feel sorry for myself?"

"I don't know.  I just thought there might be some kind of 'hey, you just pooped your pants, maybe you shouldn't be at work' rule in play at that point."

"I don't think so.  I do think I'd take a shower, though, otherwise I'd be really paranoid that people would somehow know."

"Oh like you wouldn't just tell them first thing anyway.  It's not like they wouldn't notice you were gone for two hours with no explanation.  They'd obviously ask what happened.  And then you would giggle like an adolescent girl.  Unless you tried to call on the way home with a cover story?  The old, 'I just got detained by the police' story might be better for your image."

"I would just blame it on the kids.  I can always make it the kids' fault somehow."

"Well, could you at least try to sit on a towel or something on the way home?"

"Don't have to!  Leather seats in the van, remember?"

"An unexpected use for that particular selling feature!"

"This has been a really romantic talk."

"What can we do?  We lead a spicy life, Chris."


Monday, June 2, 2014

Playing with Children: It's not as fun as it looks on Facebook

I was sitting on the floor of the living room, playing around with Lilly.

She put a Hello Kitty stamp under her foot.

"Mom?  Guess what I have under my foot."

"Lilly, I was right here.  I saw what you put under your foot.  You put a Hello Kitty stamp under your foot."

"But GUESS!"

"Um . . . I'm guessing it's a Hello Kitty stamp."

She lifts her foot, and there is, indeed, the Hello Kitty stamp.

"Mom, don't look this time."


She doesn't move.  I know, because I'm right there, and I would have been able to hear it.  Even with my eyes closed.

"Mom!  Guess what it under my foot now!"

"Lilly, you didn't move.  There is nothing else around here.  It's still the Hello Kitty stamp."

"Mom, GUESS."

"I'm guessing it's the Hello Kitty stamp."

I was right again.

"Okay, mom.  Don't look.  Close your eyes."

Got it.

"Guess now, mom.  But don't guess it's the stamp."

"Is it a sticker?"


"Is it money?"


"I give up.  What is it?"

"It's a Hello Kitty stamp!"

Came out of NOWHERE with that one.

Speaking of the Hello Kitty stamp, it came in a super clearanced Hello Kitty scrap-booking kit.

Lilly asked me if I would play with her, and I'm trying to say yes more often, so I got on the floor and we started playing with this kit.

I'm not sure if you are aware, but scrap-booking is where you put pictures in an album and put, like, borders and stickers and shit around them.

But Lilly was not playing with it RIGHT.

"Okay, Lilly, first we need to print out some pictures to put in the book."

"Uh.  How about we just play with this?"

"Fine.  We'll just make designs on the pages.  We will make it like a little art book."

"Uh, I'm just gonna rip these pages out and start cutting."

"But . . . that's not . . ."

I didn't fight much more about it.  I just let her rip the album apart and cut it up.  And the tube of glitter glue?  She used it all on one page.  I was AGHAST.  I kept thinking, "she's WASTING the glitter."

The thing is, if you think about it, glitter is never wasted.

But also, this is why it is hard to play with kids.