Prayer for Mothers of Daughters

So, I think it goes without saying that I think Tina Fey is AWESOME!!!  I don’t know WHY that would go without saying, but I think that it should.  A while back, when her book Bossypants came out, I read this excerpt.  And I loved it so much that I shared it with like everyone I know.  And I’ve been meaning to share it here, so here it is.

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered,

May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half

And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the nearby subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock N’ Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.

Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes

And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You because if I knew, I’d be doing it.

May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a rough patch from twelve to seventeen. 

Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long,

For Childhood is short — a Tiger Flower blooming magenta for one day –

And Adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister,

Give me the strength to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends,

For I will not have that shit, Lord, I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes, Lord,

That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 a.m., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck.

“My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget.

But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.


How great is that!?

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All Over but the Shouting

Alright, that title doesn’t REALLY make sense here, but I really liked it anyway.  🙂

I don’t want to yell at or around my kids, and it turns out that’s REALLY REALLY difficult.  I try.  I swear I try!  And I’m okay with sometimes when I just need to.  When I’m across the room and Lola does something that could potentially harm her brother, for instance, I’m okay with yelling then.  I don’t think my child will be scarred by some raised voices.  But overall, I’d really like to avoid yelling and harshness.

Sometimes I have a talk  with Brian about yelling at Lola too much.  I am aware while I’m doing it what a hypocrite I am; I yell at her too much too.  I mean, I try hard not to, and I’m pretty successful a lot of the time.  But anything more than very rare occasional yelling is more than I’m really okay with.  And when I hear it, as an outside observer, I am bothered by the harshness.  I don’t want us to be harsh with our kids.  And Brian especially has a tendency to get a little … yelly. 

I don’t really even want to yell AROUND my kids.  I am an emotional person.  I overreact to things.  I get loud sometimes.  I yell at my husband when he doesn’t deserve it (sorry, Baby!) and when he does (sorry about that too, actually.)  I want to stop that, especially in front of the kids, but I don’t know if I know how.  I mean, can I just make a decision not to do it, and then just not do it anymore?  It’s not a conscious thing sometimes.  I have been more aware of it lately, though, and I think that’s a good first step.  And now here I am sharing it with the world.  Maybe that will help to make me more accountable.

Then I start to think- is that ridiculous?  To be against yelling at or around your kids?  It’s certainly not a familiar stance to me.  And none of us are really worse for the wear.  So I get to wondering if maybe everyone’s thinking “what kind of weirdo, overly permissive, hippy parent says no yelling?”  But, I still want to be firm with my kids.  In fact, I could stand to be a little more firm.  Just without the yelling part.

And I also think- if someone yelled at me as much as people seem to think it’s okay to yell at kids, I think I’d feel like crap.  And you know, being young doesn’t preclude one from deserving respect.  And also, kids do frustrating stuff!  Little shits.  Some of it is sort of exploratory and to be expected.  Some of it is just downright naughty!  Most of it is just because they are not just shorter adults.  They’re still learning how to process information and frustration and emotions.  And we LOVE THEM!  So, maybe we could make sure that we practice a little patience, respect, and empathy with them the vast majority of the time.  I know that with Lola, just acknowledging her feelings can help shorten a meltdown, whereas reacting harshly just makes her feel unheard and makes her melt down more.  And sometimes nothing helps.  And sometimes she’s just being a brat.  But, she’s still entitled to her feelings, and yelling still doesn’t help.

And then there’s the obvious but often-overlooked side effect.  What does it teach your kids when you have a grownup meltdown when things don’t go your way?  Well…it teaches them to have a meltdown when things don’t go their way.  How would they learn otherwise?

I hope this post didn’t make it sound like there is all kinds of yelling going on around my house all the time.  There isn’t.  But there could be less.  There SHOULD be less.  And I’m going to make that a top priority starting now.  I’ll keep you guys posted.  🙂

Weekend Fun

So…I feel a LITTLE bad doing yet another “let me tell you about my weekend” post.  Which are probably only interesting to me.  Even my husband is all “snooze!” because, after all, he was there.  But!  Here we go anyway.  And when things are less hectic, perhaps quality will improve around here.  Although, it’s just as likely that perhaps it won’t.  It’s not like my publisher is going to mind.  She was a little disappointed at first, but what’s she gonna do?  I mean, seeing as my publisher is me.

Moving on.

Lola is SUCH a cute big sister lately!!!  I mean, sure, sometimes I spend 20 minutes trying to get Corbin to take a nap and she decides 8 seconds later to be a big sister just a little too closely (and loudly) and then I am less than amused.  But most of the time, she’s just cute and attentive and a little bit bossy.  It makes my heart smile. Especially now that she seems to accept the “you cannot pick him up” rule.

On this particular day she was in Super Big Sister mode as I putzed around the house.  Actually, she was pretending to be his mommy.  Which mostly involved covering him with a blanket and patting him on the back while calling him “my Corbiny.”  A bit of a clunky nickname I think.  When after a bit I looked in and saw this:

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And I said “Honey, why is he wearing a kleenex on his head?”  And she cleared that up with. “Etuz [that’s how she says because] he’s jus’ a silly guy.”  Oh, of course.

And then later that day…

Now, I know that most people choose to celebrate Memorial Day ON Memorial Day.  But really, that’s getting a bit predictable and outdated isn’t it?  My family, being the trendsetting hipsters that we are, chooses to celebrate basically everything on a Sunday (unless it’s football season, and then if you schedule something on a Sunday you better be okay with the fact that everyone’s bitching about you behind your back.)  And just LOOK at all the trendsetting hipsters at this gathering:

This really is pretty close to heavenly.  I know it LOOKS like just a random collection of people in lawnchairs and one sorry excuse for a pool.  But really, well, okay it IS that.  But there is plenty of food, plenty of shade, plenty of loved ones and plenty of conversation (offensive and non-).  The only heavenly aspects missing are the friendly, ride-able polar bear and the never-ending, free State Fair.  (yeah, my vision of heaven rocks!)  The less than awesome pool, however, was genuinely less than awesome.  First off, it was actually a portable ice rink and only held 3 inches of water.  Which, after a while I was pretty sure was more like 2 inches of water and one inch of pee.  And oddly, I was the ONLY person disturbed by that.  I love when the kids get to play with their cousins though!IMG_0659

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Look at the noggin on that kid!  And by that kid I mean Corbin.  We found out at his 6 month well baby visit that he’s 25th percentile for weight and 75th for head size.  No wonder he can’t sit for more than 3 seconds without doing a faceplant!  Less explicable is why on earth his dad and I keep sitting him up and then focusing our attention elsewhere while he succumbs to said faceplant.

Those are like the only pictures I managed to take, despite far more adorable photo ops because keeping track of your kids is TIRING, y’all!  Also, yes, I make my kids wear those t-shirt style swimsuits because we are a pasty pasty bunch.

– – – Monday – – –

How was your Memorial Day?  Mine went like this:  After barely sleeping all night due to Corbin’s bad cough, I got to go to work in the morning, where, YAY, there was a wound care patient with a gross gaping hole in his knee that I got to assist with the cleaning of.  Score!  And then I got home to find that Lola had painted her own toenails.  Except, translation:  Lola had painted the entirety of her TOES AND FINGERS plus much of the bathroom with like 12 shades of nail polish.  As I was cleaning her up, I kept thinking, I REALLY wish I could post a picture of this.  But I didn’t want her to think she had done something cute.  And then I caved and tried to take one anyway.  But this was AFTER a LOT of cleaning up.  And I STILL count blue, black, aqua, green and red remnants, including between her toes.  I had gone through my whole bottle of remover at that point.

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I want to take a small detour here and talk about how awesome yard sales are.  I never have time to go to them, which is such a shame, because DUDE, major money saving!  I happened to meet my mom and Lola at one this weekend, and it was a happy happy day.  I had been dying for Corbin to have a ball popper toy, but they’re like thirtysome bucks and I could never bring myself to buy one, but Hey, what’s this?  A practically new one for 3 dollars!  As well as some cute clothes, and another barely used toy (a cute rolling caterpillar thing) that the lady at the snobby toy store tried to sell me a while back (for thirtysome bucks.  I’m spotting a trend.)   

A couple of things about that picture:   1. I still can’t get my kids to ever take a good picture together.  And B. do you see that string of drool stretching from Corbin’s mouth all the way to the floor?  That is a permanent part of my life.  And nope, he’s not teething (despite many people telling me over and over and over that he MUST be.)  Nope, that’s just my comeuppance for so despising the drool of other people’s children and pets for most of my life.  Touche, karma.  A bitch indeed.

I bet you can never guess what we did next….

Wait

for

it…

That’s right…

Bananberry!  Yummmmmm.

Going Bananas!

Lola has been telling me a few times lately that she “saw a Robin Hood.”  I of course tell her how cool that is, but I haven’t been able to figure out what she was talking about.  Well, this morning, she pointed the Robin Hood out to me.  It was a robin.  As in the bird.  She’s so cute.  Isn’t it funny how we associate words when we’re little?  She used to say anyone with a hood was a Robin Hood, as well.

What a beautiful weekend we had!!!  Hooray for weather in the 80s!

On Saturday, we decided to begin our enjoyment of the weather by visiting Milwaukee’s awesome Third Ward.  Our top priority was cupcakes, from the fancy cupcake place.  The kids were pretty good on the drive up.  Corbin’s not the world’s happiest car rider, but I discovered that both of the kids really enjoyed AC/DC’s If You Want Blood.   What?  That’s totally kid-appropriate.  Hey, at least I turned off the Ol Dirty Bastard after the 4th extreme expletive or so.

Our cupcakes were so huge that Lola actually didn’t even finish hers!  I wish I’d have brought the camera.  She managed to eat a giant, super chocolatey chocolate cupcake and only wear a few stripes of chocolate on her arms for the rest of the afternoon.  I managed to nurse a baby at the table while we ate without feeling too awkward OR getting any less-than-complementary looks/comments.  🙂  We also did a little shopping.  Which is to say: I tried to chase after Lola while wearing Corbin in the Ergo and DREAMING of someday when I might visit these places without my children and actually be able to look at the merchandise.  And trust me, looking is about all I’ll do even then, because I can’t really buy 20-dollar kitchen towels.  Even if they do have the cutest matryoshkas on them.

And then!  The big day!  Corbin tried his first solids.  I use the term “solids” loosely, it was pureed banana.  First, lets take a trip down memory lane.  Lola’s first solids:

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My little Sweet Potato Queen

IMG_0571-1Sometimes you just have to go bananas!

We got many spoonfuls into his mouth.  There was only MAAYYYBE one that didn’t come right back out.  We’ll see if, like Lola, after I take the care to homemake his babyfood, he actually starts SWALLOWING them only when my mom gives him a jar of the store bought stuff.  And then:

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Lola prefers her pureed bananas frozen up Quick Pop style.  🙂   This Zoku was TOTALLY WORTH IT, by the way.  This popsicle is just pureed banana mixed with milk and a little honey.  That’s a pretty healthy popsicle, and cheap.

– – –

More hot, sunny weather on Sunday.  We had the treat of Daddy accompanying us to the park in the morning.  Okay, is it just me, or is taking your kid to the park kind of a snooze?  I know!  Who SAYS stuff like that!?  But really, I feel like there’s pressure to have fun, but not that much fun to be had.  Lola enjoyed herself though. And she rode her bike there, which is SOOO cute.  I will definitely take some bike riding pictures soon.  She looks like such a big girl on that thing.  I tried and tried to get her to ride that thing, then Brian spends like an hour with her and she’s a pro!

And then I discovered why running in the sprinkler is such a popular childhood pasttime.  You get to water the lawn and keep your kid busy and cool all at the same time!  That is, if you happen to have sunscreen on hand.  Which I didn’t.  So we had to wait for Brian to go get some.  And then we had to wait for him to go BACK to the store when the first tube he brought home was expired.  And then the sprinkler fun ensued!

 

 I also discovered that my daughter has inherited my extreme insect phobia.  Only even more intense.  Perhaps it’s concentrated in her due to her smaller size?  I spent a LOT of time out there saying “no, Lola, that’s just a piece of grass.”  And at one point I traumatized her to a degree that MIGHT incur future therapy when I didn’t want her to stand dripping on her brother’s blanket, so I physically FORCED her onto the grass while she screamed “THERE WAS GONNA BE A BUG THERE!” at an intensly accusatory tone that actually made me feel bad.  And then irritated.  Because come on, you’re playing outside.  Every gnat can’t be a total meltdown moment.

 You’ll never guess what we did next…

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I’m kind of thinking that Zoku probably owes me some of their advertising dollars.  These were my best yet, by the way.  The light blue parts are bllue raspberry flavoring syrup mixed with milk and a little heavy cream (healthy, eh!? 😛 ).  The stripe in the middle is pureed raspberries that I strained the seeds out of.

I think Lola felt bad that Corbin didn’t get a popsicle, because she then spent quite a while trying to get him to suck on his own feet.  Which is admittedly pretty cute when he does it.  And usually prompts Lola to say “He looks like a bowling ball!” 

First there was a demonstration of how tasty and fun it would be.

Followed by verbal instruction.

And then a little assistance from the instructor.

 I think that half the fun of that photo series is Corbin’s expression.

It was such a nice weekend.  My very dirty house and overflowing laundry basket are sort of hoping that we don’t have too many weekends that nice in a row.  But my popsicle maker is ready to go, just in case!

 

Lost in Translation?

Sometimes it can be hard to know what your 5 month old is saying.  I don’t really speak Baby that well.  I mean, I have gotten pretty good at knowing whether his fussing and crying means “I’m tired” or “I’m bored.”  But the rest of it is just a bunch of random sounds.

Or is it?

It turns out that Lola speaks Baby pretty fluently.  How fortunate!  I don’t know why she’s been keeping this from me.  I guess really she’s been trying to let me know, and maybe I just wasn’t listening.  When I used to tell her she had to wait because I was feeding the baby right now, and she would cry “He’s not hungry!”  I thought she was just being resentful of my time spent nursing him.  Now I wonder- maybe he wasn’t hungry. 

Because she was my little translator this morning.  First of all, I put Corbin in the car and then went back in for her, and as we walked out she said “I noticed you’re  not bringing Corbin.”  Which I thought was cute (and probably just wishful thinking on her part as we were headed to Grandma and Papa’s house.)  But that’s beside the point.  

As he sat back there making what I thought were meaningless baby noises, she told me: “He said ‘Hello.‘”  And then moments later: “He said ‘Hello’ again.”   

Then later, when he was fussing and I asked him if he could please chill, in my ignorance I assumed he had no idea what I was saying.  But Lola helped me out.  “He said ‘Sure.’”  Great, thanks.

The best part was when he said “Eh eh eh.”  And she told me “He said ‘eh eh eh.‘”   I guess some things don’t have a good Baby-to-English translation.

Wednesdays with the Kids #5

– The VERY GOOD side of Brian recovering from surgery: he doesn’t have work or school this week.  This morning Brian actually offers to take Corbin when he wakes up early, and I get to sleep in till SEVEN!

– Everyone eats breakfast this morning at more or less the same time.  Mine includes 3 Lindt White Chocolate truffles.  I am a failure.

– I feel so spoiled by the fact that Brian is around to help me that I decide to be all ambitious and make Corbin a t shirt:

– Corbin falls asleep for his first nap, and while he’s sleeping on the couch, Lola brings him a glow worm.  She is really getting to be a great big sister.  The majority of the time she is being kind to him and trying to play with him and comforts him when he cries.  It’s ADORABLE!

– And then she screws around and makes so much noise that it wakes him up. Corbin is a pretty happy little guy; can you imagine how happy he would be if he ever got to finish a whole nap?  I tell Lola I don’t want to play with her if she’s not going to behave.  Her response: “maybe you can make me behave.”  If only. 

– And then as evidence that I can’t make her behave, I come into the bathroom to find her dunking Corbin’s beloved Tigger in the toilet.  And by “Corbin’s beloved Tigger,” I mean the one that he constantly chews and sucks on.  My Mother-in-law was at our house for the last couple days to help Brian care for the kids while I was at work.  Somehow this transformed Lola into a crazy, naughty, spoiled brat.  This awful phase can’t last longer than the 2 days that created it, can it?

– After spending much of the last 6 months lying prone on the floor while I wished he would do stuff, Brian has decided that the days directly following back surgery are the PERFECT time to make up for lost time.  He edged the lawn the day I brought him home from the hospital.  Today he has decided to bring all his textbooks back to school to sell back.  8 college textbooks couldn’t POSSIBLY weigh more than the 10lbs his doctor has okayed for him to lift, right!?  I have yelled at him every way I know how for all this, and now I’m thinking of telling Dr. Prpa on him.  If anyone has any idea how to make my husband be useless again for another week or two, pass it my way.

– Corbin graduates to his big boy carseat today!  The rear-facing convertible, I mean.  From the infant carrier type seat. Very cute!  Except that this causes Lola to throw a total fit about wanting THAT seat.  I try to explain that she is a big girl.  I try to explain that she DID get to have a seat like that when she was small and now it’s Corbin’s turn.  Nothin doin.  In the end, I resort to bribery.  Scooby Doo snacks to the rescue!

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– I have to take both kids to run some errands.  And though a trip to Old Navy for a couple t shirts that I don’t even need to try on winds up taking 30 minutes and requiring 2 trips to the bathroom, overall it’s pretty stress-free.  Wanna know why?  Bribery.  This time with a bouncy ball.

– Another of our errands is a trip to the grocery store where I buy, among other things, a carton of vanilla ice cream for our cobbler (more on that later.)  Lola whines that she doesn’t LIKE vanilla ice cream.  My response: “well that’s fine honey, then you don’t have to eat any.”  Which causes some lady to tell me I’m a good mom.  Finally!  When I no longer seek your approval, you come around.  Damn you, public!

– Really it’s been a busy, but not very entertaining day.  Cranky kids. Too much bad behavior (mostly from me and Lola.  As I tuck her in tonight, we both promise to be nice tomorrow.)  The highlight was the cobbler.  So let me tell you about that.

Raspberry Peach Cobbler

The cobbler part is actually a simple scone recipe. 

1 Cup (5 oz) flour

2-3 T  sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

4 T cold butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 Cup heavy cream

– Put the first 4 ingredients in a food processor and blend.  Add the butter and pulse a few times until the butter is in small bits.  Add the cream and pulse repeatedly until it comes together in clumps.  I have seen this referred to as a “shaggy dough” and I agree. Put this in the fridge till you get the other stuff ready.

Filling:

2lb ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

6oz raspberries, unwashed

1/3 Cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste (I LOVE THIS STUFF!  But you could use vanilla extract I suppose.)

2 tsp lemon juice

1 T cornstarch

– put the sliced peaches and raspberries in a big bowl.  Add the sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and cornstarch and toss gently so all is coated.

– put the filling into a baking dish.  I used a deep dish pie dish.  Top with lumps of scone dough.  Bake at 350degrees for about 40 minutes.  Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.  YUM!  My sister called it her favorite EVER.  🙂 

 

Mornings

Corbin woke up laughing yesterday.  He was sleeping, his eyes were still closed, and then a smile crossed his face and he giggled.  He kept on like this while we both got up and got out of bed.  Is there a cuter way to wake up?  That was not rhetorical.  I can tell you for sure that, No, there is no  cuter way.  🙂

Corbin’s kind of a morning person.  Every now and then he wakes up crying, but more often than not it’s easily assuaged.  The only downside to Corbin’s a.m. enthusiasm is that it can get a little loud.  I generally have to get up before six, either for work or because Corbin is up.  And when his happy hinder lies there on the bathroom rug and coos and goos and chats excitedly, I keep trying, to no avail, to shush him to avoid waking up Lola.

Lola is not a morning person.  In fact, on the rare precious day that I get to still be in bed past 6, I hear any thud and get this sort of clenching in my stomach- is that Lola’s feet hitting the floor?   Our bedrooms share a wall (which is also the reason that I intend to move before she reaches tween years,) and when she gets up you hear a thud, and then a stomp stomp stomp, and then her door clumsily opened and shut with a slam, and you start to wonder if maybe she hulked out overnight.  She comes right to find me, and almost every time, Courtney Love sings in my head:

“Here comes a storm in the form of a girl…”

She used to get to my bed and stand right by my head and whisper something at me, usually “waffles!”  Now there’s a co-sleeper in the way, and anyways, I’m usually up.  She usually finds me in the living room with Corbin, and she always has this sleepy, somewhat crabby, sort of bewildered look on her face, and her hair is always totally bed-headed.  USUALLY she warms up pretty quickly, thank God. 

She gets to watch cartoons in the morning, and pick at her breakfast.  She’s not a big breakfast eater (which is CRAZY!  I LOVE breakfast!  I often eat two!) 

And now, here I am at the end of my paragraphs about morning time, and I realize, I have no point.  I feel like there might have once been something I wanted to say about this, but in the meantime, both the kids are up, and now I’m pretty distracted. (Which, by the way, makes me think of the Cafe Mom member who read one of my other blog posts and commented “and her family is doing what while she’s writing all this?”  lol.)  So, I think I’ll just let it stand for now as a picture of our mornings, for me to look back on when I can’t remember any of this.  And I will TRY to do better next time, lol.  No promises.

ETA- I would also like to have written down somewhere:  Lola likes to make up songs about EVERYTHING.  And last night she was on a roll!  She has this little Woody guitar that’s maybe 6 inches long, and she plays it while she sings.  I PROMISE to try and catch a picture of this next time it happens.  I wish I could remember all of her songs from last night, but the only two I can remember verbatim are-

“Oh there is a Momma / She lives right here on the couch / Momma’s couch / Momma’s couch / Momma Momma Momma”

and

“Kitty Kitty Kitty / There’s a baby in the bottom of the sea / Oh yeah / Oh yeah / Wah Wah Wah!”

That last one is because whenever it was my turn I sang the Hole in the Bottom of the Sea song (and played the guitar completely incorrectly according to Lola), and also because Lola tends to sing about whatever’s nearby.